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>> I'm up an honest 8.2 percent on my self-directed IRA since this time in January. Not a big rise, I guess, but that's just after 3 months.

My question:

Do I take my magic 4 percent NOW?

Or do I sit on that 8.2 percent until year's end, maybe working some more on my investments, at which time it may increase more or even end up being lower?

Might I assume that, if invested properly with some other person or group, that might grow, say, to 4 times as much, or 32 percent, by the end of a full year (4 quarter)? If so, could I maybe take 4.5 percent out and be "daring"?

My answer would be: save the surpluses in "good years" so you don't have to decimate your portfolio or sell stocks at low prices during "down years."

I think it's a mistake to crank up spending and retirement income because of a couple of good years unless you are willing and able to withdraw a lot less in a bear market like 2000-02 and 2007-09. Governments and pension funds have a bad habit of doing that, and because of it they get into big trouble trying to cope with down markets.

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