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it's hard to get an accurate gauge of how much we will really need in retirement. Of course all the retirement calculators I use give vastly differing amounts. Any ideas of how to get a more accurate estimate?

About two years before DW joined me in early retirement I began tracking our actual expenses. I also researched private health insurance and made a generous estimate of what health care might cost. I added to or subtracted from our various expense categories based on what I thought the changes in spending would be. I made sure we had at least 25 times our projected spending so we could live on a 4% or lower withdrawl. We have been living off the proceeds from our portfolio for over a year now and our spending has pretty much come in as expected.

If you're much farther from retirement now than we were, your current expenses may not reflect your future ones so closely. Good luck.

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