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Well, the 4% I was using is the Safe Withdrawal Rate often talked of here. I understand this is to preserve the principal, which is irrelevant to me. However, NOT running out of money before I die IS. So, I've been using the 4% to be safe.

Yes, I understand that. But the 4% withdrawal rate is only safe if the principal is earning more than 4%. What do you anticipate the rate will be?

I found the annuity calculator I was looking for, but it is on a heavy mathematical site, and I don't want to confuse the issue any more than it apparently already is, so I'm not linking it at this time.

If I plug the following assumptions into this calculator: Starting Principal $175,000; Age 60; IRR 4% then the answer comes back with a monthly annuity of $1175.

Since it appears to me that you rather firmly believe the annuity is the way for you to go, I'm certainly not going to try and change your mind. Rather, I will attempt to help you ask the questions that get you clear about what these Retirement counselors are telling you.

I would ask them at what age are they assuming the annuity payments start? I would ask them if the annuity ends when you die or continues for the life of your spouse? Is there a minimum period over which the annuity will be paid? This question is to cover the ghastly possibility that you retire and die shortly thereafter. I mean, this is 175K of your money we're talking about here, be a shame for your family to only get a few payments in that scenario, and then, poof!, it all stops.

If you were to implement retirement, how many years away are you from what you consider the earliest "doable" time?

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