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Subject:  Re: Puzzled Date:  4/11/2000  3:21 PM
Author:  Chipsboss Number:  21118 of 101060

Good question. Everyone's decision is personal, but here's my reasoning and feeling.

I'm planning to preserve the purchasing power of both my after-tax budget and my retirement funds as nearly level as possible, from now at age 60 to age 95. Why so cautious?

• My stubbornness or defiance or something. Our tax system is highly anti-capital and I want to see if it's possible for me to conserve the capital despite that.

• My pride, which makes me unwilling to depend financially on any one else if I can possible avoid it. I'd rather leave behind unspent money.

• After those several decades of living below my means and recent booming stock markets, I don't have especially expensive tastes and it's easy to live on 3% to 4% withdrawals. In fact, I recently got almost a year behind in spending my allocated withdrawals.

• There is an ancient naval principle -- Preserve your maneuvering room! Accordingly, I'm keeping the principal intact in case something expensive comes along that I really, really want to buy (medical treatment not covered by insurance, maybe) or that I am forced to pay for, like a severe market crash or the confiscation of my social security benefits.

• Your point about premature death is well made. Most of the men in my family have died younger than I am now. So, I indulge myself -- trips, gadgets, and now a new house, stepping up from an old one. It all fits inside those modest withdrawals.

• It's not clear that becoming disabled would reduce my spending. I'd travel less but hire more personal help. Might be about even. I keep promising myself that if ever I can't drive safely anymore, I will use taxies rather than succumb to cabin fever or depend on other people.

• I am highly averse to cat food, although my dogs love it.

• I plan to leave most of the remaining assets to a tax-exempt foundation whose work I support. One of its important projects is educating people on how each representative and senator actually votes and the costs of those votes, to compare with the campaign promises.

the grizzled Chips, rejoicing in his retirement since 1993, not 1902

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