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Nice to see another message board fracturing itself over this issue.

This board purports to be for wanna-bes. There are probably a few people here who are far enough along in their FIRE plans that the difference between accumulating 25 times expected expenses and accumulating 50 times expected expenses is relevant right now. For them, it's important. But if you've got less than 10 times expected expenses saved up, then it makes more sense to focus on how you're going to accumulate and grow your wealth than to obsess over what your final target number is going to be.

I've never understood why this issue was so contentious. The idea of an absolutely fixed withdrawal rate is incredibly unrealistic, because I don't know anyone who wouldn't tighten their belt a little when things are tough or feel a little freer with their money when things are going well. Once you introduce these fluctuations, the simple studies don't really apply anymore, unless you make major modifications. Even then, unless you are the type of person to be rigidly mechanical about financial decisions, all the studies in the world won't necessarily tell you how to deal with your own comfort level and needs.

I don't mean to dissuade those of us who are working to understand withdrawal rates better. It's a fascinating intellectual exercise, and the complexities of various hypotheticals make it clear to me that there's a lot of insight beneath the surface. But not everyone will want to get that much into it - they'll be happy with a simple rule even while understanding that it may be flawed. That said, my main objection has been to people who say that no one should look beyond the simple rule because there's no more to be learned by further analysis. That's a ridiculous statement.

The board has gotten through nearly a thousand posts without ripping itself apart. Let's get through this and get back to the quality posts that give us wanna-bes the will to keep walking down the long road toward retirement.

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