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No. of Recommendations: 9
<my goal in quiting early is to quit when I can guarantee that I DON"T HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK UNLESS I WANT TO. Not because I have to...if that means working a few more years now, then so be it...The old "pay a little more up front to reduce your risk of problems" and reap the benefits long term.>

It is my belief that the concept of RE is composed of two equal elements. For simplicity sake I call them the math part and the non-math part. Often, depending on one's particular background, one is given more weight than the other. This probably explains why there is a divergence of opinion on RE issues.

While the math issues are certainly a cornerstone of any RE strategy, one ignores the non-math issues at considerable risk. I could really relate to the stories Art has shared about trying to get his father to leave the rat race and enjoy the rest of his life. In my own experience, I remember my mom talking about some of the things she wanted to do when she retired. She lost her battle with cancer at 56 and never saw her retirement. There is an almost comical element about how many of us humans become obscessed with certainty or guarantees.

I like the SWR study. I also believe that it is possible that a 4% SWR could be too high for the next 30 years. However, before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, it is with the standard caveat that if that happens, we will have had a situation worse than any we have experienced over the last 100+ years. Like Prometheus, I think that such a situation will not end with the US being the dominant world economic power that it has been. I also agree with him that fixed income securities will not be providing anything near a 4% SWR either in such a scenario.

As to taking the RE plunge or waiting for a greater level of certainty, I think that it comes down to a personal choice. As Art has also said, if he had to wait until he was certain that he had enough to start a 2% SWR, he might never take that step. I am sure that the non-math issue regarding his father was never too far out of his mind.

If you decide to spend an extra five years to reach your "guarantee" level, what will you be giving up? If it is significant time with your family, delaying an exercise program due to lack of time or enduring too much added stress, it could be a very steep price to pay. I think it is possible that your heavy technical experience with overdesigning systems can blur your vision regarding the non-math issues. I do not expect to change anyones mind on a subject like this. I just want to point out that the "big picture" can easily differ from person to person.

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