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Wow! Some activity on the board! Great. My $0.02 (depreciated by inflation, of course):

As a life long cynic, may I point out: even the past's economic statistics (e.g. the inflation rate) should be taken with a grain of salt. The often quoted figure I think is around 3% per year.

It is not now, nor has it ever, been in officialdom's interest to report the TRUE rate -- even allowing for reasonable adjustments (not so reasonable ones too?) I for one don't believe the current rate is the low rate(s) quoted. Come on: they leave food and energy out of the "core" rate? What BS. Look at health, energy, and food costs for the past few years and tell me with a straight face that inflation is only 4 or 5%. Probably more like 10% or more. Good luck with your planning, though!
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