No. of Recommendations: 3
The whole point of the safe-withdrawal calculator is to figure the maximum initial withdrawal rate that would ALWAYS, over the 130 year history in the calculator, have delivered the money every year with inflation adjustment.

If you go look at the calculator (follow links starting at www.retireearlyhomepage.com), you'll see that it has a spot where the safety margin - based on this history - is displayed. If that drops below 100, what it means is that in some period(s) in the past 130 years the specified portfolio and withdrawal rate went broke. You can either decide to accept the odds, decrease the withdrawal rate, or adjust your portfolio to increase the safey margin.

The asset allocation that gives the highest safe withdrawal rate over this period is 80% stock, 20% bond, and an initial withdrawal rate of 4%.

If you want to bet on us NOT having a repeat of the Great Depression (or worse), you might accept a higher withdrawal rate or a different asset allocation.

If you want to bet on us having something worse than the Great Depression, you may want to increase the bond allocation - and pull your withdrawal rate down quite a bit.
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