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Most of the "research" knocking the 4% SWR seems focused on "well, sure, 4% MIGHT work, but if you assume worse assumptions than it's more likely it won't, so use a lower starting percentage". Gee, thanks for the tremendous insight.

The SWR, as you noted, is a "rule of thumb", but it's a pretty big rule. It's a post-facto simulation of the worst case scenario since the beginning of, well, almost the 20th century - including the Great Depression, World War II, the OPEC Oil Embargo, and all the other political and economic events of the century.

And you'd still be standing.

OF COURSE if you assume the future will be worse than the worst that has happened in the past 100 years, then any assumptions are verklempt.

TL/DR version - a lot of articles about retirement are complex ways of saying "if things change, 4% won't work". Duh

Yes. Exactly.

Financial advisors charge fees and some products have fees, so if you can "do it yourself" it's better, but a lot of people aren't great at "do-it-yourself" so financial advisers make sense. Normal caveat - like car mechanics, there are a lot out there who charge too much and deliver too little and seem more interested in enriching themselves than helping you for a fair price.

Given "average" performance by the current crop of financial advisors, and given the "average" person on the street, is there some level of assets or age or anything where using a paid advisor makes more sense? Or less sense?

I also don't advocate the "put it all in an index fund and see what happens", but my experience with advisors has been less than thrilling, too. (Just returned from another of those "free steak dinner" seminars; the guy advocates a propriety fund with a 2.75% annual (plus his own 1% override), non-traded REITS (similar fee structure) and annuities. I mean, geeze, he's almost at 4% out of the box! Gotta pay for those steaks somehow, I guess. ;)
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