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Most models predict at 4% your funds will last for 30 years.

That's close but not exactly right. The models don't predict but rather demonstrate that a 4% rate would have lasted at least 30 years for all 30-year periods starting back in 1871. For the few worst of those periods, you would have run out of money in year 31. For many of them, you would have ended up with much more than you started with.

The numbers are based on a portfolio composition of approximately 75% S&P500 and 25% Treasuries or equivalent fixed-income assets. In order to feel good about the 4% rate going forward, you have to assume that your own 30-year period will be no worse than the worst period since 1871.

If you want to be safe for longer than 30 years, you need to take less than 4%.

--fleg
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