Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

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willthrill81
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by willthrill81 » Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:51 pm
Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:41 pm
mariezzz wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 4:42 pm
Silence Dogood wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 9:10 am
I'm guessing the market has gone down lately?

I don't bother checking, but I can always get a good idea based on the most recent threads (for example, "100% stocks" threads when the market is doing really well).

Anyway, which is the greater risk?:

The risk that a 60 year old, entering retirement, ends up running out of money, due to a 30 year stagnation in the stock market.

The risk that a 60 year old, about to enter retirement, but fearing stock market stagnation, works an extra 10 years, but then dies at age 70.

There are no guarantees in life.
Or, more likely for people following the BH approach, the risk that a 60 year old, entering retirement at the beginning of a 30 year stagnation in the stock market, cognizant of SWR issues, decreases spending by cutting out unnecessary spending on consumer goods, travel, and restaurant, and dies at age 92 with money in the bank.

There's risk in worrying unnecessarily. People with such anxiety may find ways to rationalize it, but allowing anxiety about a highly unlikely (<.1%) scenario to substantially affect one's financial decisions is far more likely to cause people to run out of money in retirement (this is the reason why a 20/80 AA isn't recommended for people in the accumulation phase).
I completely agree!

What is the point of this thread?

I'm not saying that long-term stagnation couldn't happen, but what are we going to do about it even if it does?

We can't plan our lives based on the potential for unlikely events when it comes at great expense to likely events.
If you mean extremely unlikely events, (eg, the fall of the US gov; an asteroid strike, etc,) that's one thing, However, thirty or more years of flat real returns in the stock market is not that IMO. It can and should be planned for, as many people here do via diversification, high savings rates, and common sense.
I'm inclined to agree. Many around here have no problem delaying retirement by 5-10 years so they can go from a 4% to a 3% or lower withdrawal rate, but it's ludicrous to suggest that the U.S. stock market could do again what it's already done before? :oops:

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

Silence Dogood
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by Silence Dogood » Wed May 15, 2019 10:06 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm
gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:51 pm
Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:41 pm
mariezzz wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 4:42 pm
Silence Dogood wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 9:10 am
I'm guessing the market has gone down lately?

I don't bother checking, but I can always get a good idea based on the most recent threads (for example, "100% stocks" threads when the market is doing really well).

Anyway, which is the greater risk?:

The risk that a 60 year old, entering retirement, ends up running out of money, due to a 30 year stagnation in the stock market.

The risk that a 60 year old, about to enter retirement, but fearing stock market stagnation, works an extra 10 years, but then dies at age 70.

There are no guarantees in life.
Or, more likely for people following the BH approach, the risk that a 60 year old, entering retirement at the beginning of a 30 year stagnation in the stock market, cognizant of SWR issues, decreases spending by cutting out unnecessary spending on consumer goods, travel, and restaurant, and dies at age 92 with money in the bank.

There's risk in worrying unnecessarily. People with such anxiety may find ways to rationalize it, but allowing anxiety about a highly unlikely (<.1%) scenario to substantially affect one's financial decisions is far more likely to cause people to run out of money in retirement (this is the reason why a 20/80 AA isn't recommended for people in the accumulation phase).
I completely agree!

What is the point of this thread?

I'm not saying that long-term stagnation couldn't happen, but what are we going to do about it even if it does?

We can't plan our lives based on the potential for unlikely events when it comes at great expense to likely events.
If you mean extremely unlikely events, (eg, the fall of the US gov; an asteroid strike, etc,) that's one thing, However, thirty or more years of flat real returns in the stock market is not that IMO. It can and should be planned for, as many people here do via diversification, high savings rates, and common sense.
I'm inclined to agree. Many around here have no problem delaying retirement by 5-10 years so they can go from a 4% to a 3% or lower withdrawal rate, but it's ludicrous to suggest that the U.S. stock market could do again what it's already done before? :oops:

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Of course we can have another great depression.

What am I going to do about it other than save as much as I can and have an appropriate asset allocation?

I certainly wouldn't recommend that someone 60+ years of age work an extra 5-10 years to go from a 4% to 3% withdrawal rate.

SovereignInvestor
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by SovereignInvestor » Wed May 15, 2019 10:50 pm

visualguy wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:51 pm
This could happen (as in Japan) without the world as we know it ending, or the economy collapsing.

There are only two things that I can see for mitigating that. Own direct real estate in addition to stocks/bonds, and work longer.
Anything can happen, but the US stock market valuations are not remotely close to that of Japan, nor are the demographics.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/423466 ... 99-s-and-p

Anyone with access to Japan Census data in 1989 saw working age population decline coming within 10 years. In the US, we will always have working age population growth for the coming decades, so it substantially reduces, if not eliminates the demographically driven stagnation scenario.

Nikkei was at 50+ forward PE in 1989, S&P is barely 17 now. S&P was at 25 in the big 1999 dotcom "bubble".

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burt
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by burt » Thu May 16, 2019 5:57 am

SovereignInvestor wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:50 pm
visualguy wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:51 pm
This could happen (as in Japan) without the world as we know it ending, or the economy collapsing.

There are only two things that I can see for mitigating that. Own direct real estate in addition to stocks/bonds, and work longer.
Anything can happen, but the US stock market valuations are not remotely close to that of Japan, nor are the demographics.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/423466 ... 99-s-and-p

Anyone with access to Japan Census data in 1989 saw working age population decline coming within 10 years. In the US, we will always have working age population growth for the coming decades, so it substantially reduces, if not eliminates the demographically driven stagnation scenario.

Nikkei was at 50+ forward PE in 1989, S&P is barely 17 now. S&P was at 25 in the big 1999 dotcom "bubble".
Regarding "working age population growth", are you sure about that?

"The U.S. birthrate fell again in 2018, to 3,788,235 births — representing a 2% drop from 2017. It's the lowest number of births in 32 years, according to a new federal report. The numbers also sank the U.S. fertility rate to a record low."

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/15/72351837 ... cord-level

smitcat
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by smitcat » Thu May 16, 2019 7:39 am

burt wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:57 am
SovereignInvestor wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:50 pm
visualguy wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:51 pm
This could happen (as in Japan) without the world as we know it ending, or the economy collapsing.

There are only two things that I can see for mitigating that. Own direct real estate in addition to stocks/bonds, and work longer.
Anything can happen, but the US stock market valuations are not remotely close to that of Japan, nor are the demographics.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/423466 ... 99-s-and-p

Anyone with access to Japan Census data in 1989 saw working age population decline coming within 10 years. In the US, we will always have working age population growth for the coming decades, so it substantially reduces, if not eliminates the demographically driven stagnation scenario.

Nikkei was at 50+ forward PE in 1989, S&P is barely 17 now. S&P was at 25 in the big 1999 dotcom "bubble".
Regarding "working age population growth", are you sure about that?

"The U.S. birthrate fell again in 2018, to 3,788,235 births — representing a 2% drop from 2017. It's the lowest number of births in 32 years, according to a new federal report. The numbers also sank the U.S. fertility rate to a record low."

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/15/72351837 ... cord-level

Working population projections....
https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2013/artic ... o-fall.htm

MikeG62
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by MikeG62 » Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am

willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.

The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an incredibly small probability of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by gmaynardkrebs » Thu May 16, 2019 7:57 am

MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.

The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
While I agree that life is meant to be lived, so to speak, are you saying that flat real returns for 30 to 40 years are an "incredibly small probability?" I would say "unlikely," which is something one should plan for.

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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by MikeG62 » Thu May 16, 2019 8:01 am

gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:57 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.

The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
While I agree that life is meant to be lived, so to speak, are you saying that flat real returns for 30 to 40 years are an "incredibly small probability?" I would say "unlikely," which is something one should plan for.
How often has it happened in the United States? I'd let that be your guide as to likelihood of occurrence.

If one wants absolute certainty, they should keep working until they die at their desk. They won't run out of money in that scenario.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

WillRetire
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by WillRetire » Thu May 16, 2019 8:24 am

In answer to the original question: Probably

My retirement plan is modeled in a spreadsheet, and I test it under different scenarios. If one or 2 really bad things happen, the plan survives, meaning I don't run out of money. If a lot of bad things happen over a long period, then no, unless/until spending is drastically cut.

I'm comfortable with that.

I've mentioned this before in other threads... good modeling tools are very important, and Fidelity's are excellent which is one of the reasons we are gravitating accounts to Fidelity instead of Vanguard. DIYers need good tools. I don't want to have to call someone to ask: What happens if X occurs? I want to test it myself. This includes testing a % drop in Social Security, lower RoR on investments, higher expenses, various inflation COLAs, etc.

It also helps to plan for guaranteed income streams outside of Social Security, such as annuities.

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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by SovereignInvestor » Thu May 16, 2019 8:28 am

smitcat wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:39 am
burt wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:57 am
SovereignInvestor wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:50 pm
visualguy wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:51 pm
This could happen (as in Japan) without the world as we know it ending, or the economy collapsing.

There are only two things that I can see for mitigating that. Own direct real estate in addition to stocks/bonds, and work longer.
Anything can happen, but the US stock market valuations are not remotely close to that of Japan, nor are the demographics.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/423466 ... 99-s-and-p

Anyone with access to Japan Census data in 1989 saw working age population decline coming within 10 years. In the US, we will always have working age population growth for the coming decades, so it substantially reduces, if not eliminates the demographically driven stagnation scenario.

Nikkei was at 50+ forward PE in 1989, S&P is barely 17 now. S&P was at 25 in the big 1999 dotcom "bubble".
Regarding "working age population growth", are you sure about that?

"The U.S. birthrate fell again in 2018, to 3,788,235 births — representing a 2% drop from 2017. It's the lowest number of births in 32 years, according to a new federal report. The numbers also sank the U.S. fertility rate to a record low."

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/15/72351837 ... cord-level

Working population projections....
https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2013/artic ... o-fall.htm
Organic population growth is approaching zero from plus 0.5% or so recently.

In Europe organic population growth is hugely negative.

Working population growth is even lower because more of population is aging.

But the missing component that birth rates doesn't account for is immigration. The US gets about a 0.5% or so boost in annual population from immigrants.

The IMF projections for US are for about 0.5% or so working age population growth in coming decades while rest of developed world like EU Japan and even China will see massive dropoffs...so they will have serious issues.

In the article I linked which I wrote, there's a graphic showing working age population projections in the next decades.

Earnings per share track nominal GDP + buybacks in long run. Aggregate earnings track nominal GDP in margin neutral world. Probably 40/60 blend of globla and US GDP.

it's easier to project US having positive nominal GDP with a growing population it becomes harder for inflation to get near zero and real GDP can grow well over 1%..with 0.5% working population growth Plus any productivity growth (conservatively at least 1%).

So US nominal GDP likely to be at least 3% in long run. 0.5% work force growth, and the rest productivity say 1.5% plus 2% Fed inflation target....well over 3%.

But Japan in last 30 years and soon Europe has near minus 1% work force growth and say 2% productivity growth. So 1% real GDP and that sort of population decline is deflationary so inflation may be near 0%, so nominal GDP there may stall under 1%. That is why those economies may have serious issues as Japan did last 30 years. They may be bailed out by exposure to fast growing global economy with emerging markets.

US has declining work force participation ratio over time but the worming age population will be increasing faster thsn thst so total worming persons will keep rising albeit slowly

smitcat
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by smitcat » Thu May 16, 2019 8:36 am

gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:57 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.

The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
While I agree that life is meant to be lived, so to speak, are you saying that flat real returns for 30 to 40 years are an "incredibly small probability?" I would say "unlikely," which is something one should plan for.
It is not possible for most folks to plan for a list of unlikely events.

Admiral
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by Admiral » Thu May 16, 2019 8:58 am

gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:57 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.

The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
While I agree that life is meant to be lived, so to speak, are you saying that flat real returns for 30 to 40 years are an "incredibly small probability?" I would say "unlikely," which is something one should plan for.
Yes. That is exactly what I would say. 30-40 years? In a row? That has never happened in the history of the stock market (which itself is only about 90 years old). There is no way to plan for such an eventuality, so why bother?

truenorth418
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by truenorth418 » Thu May 16, 2019 9:01 am

It depends how big would be the market decline. But I have Social Security and a small pension waiting for me down the road, for now I am not counting them, I consider them “reinforcements”.

Also I could cut back spending significantly as most of my spending is discretionary.

mptfan
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by mptfan » Thu May 16, 2019 9:18 am

Admiral wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:58 am
Yes. That is exactly what I would say. 30-40 years? In a row? That has never happened in the history of the stock market (which itself is only about 90 years old).
Stocks were traded on the New York Stock Exchange as far back as 1817, that's more than 200 years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Stock_Exchange

Admiral
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by Admiral » Thu May 16, 2019 9:22 am

mptfan wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 9:18 am
Admiral wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:58 am
Yes. That is exactly what I would say. 30-40 years? In a row? That has never happened in the history of the stock market (which itself is only about 90 years old).
Stocks were traded on the New York Stock Exchange as far back as 1817, that's more than 200 years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Stock_Exchange
C'mon really, you are going to nit pick that? I'm speaking of the modern market for which reliable records exist. Vanguard uses 1926.

Jeez, this board sometimes... :annoyed

cuendillar
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by cuendillar » Thu May 16, 2019 9:29 am

TheTimeLord wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 10:18 am
surfstar wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 10:11 am
ONE MORE YEAR
ONE MORE YEAR

{everyone now}

ONE MORE YEAR!!!


If you never quite working, you never have to worry about retirement.
Problem solved.
This really isn't a factor on if I work any longer or not. I am just trying to understand the comment frequently made on this forum when someone makes the assumption or bases their plans on stocks continuing to rise into infinity. I always thought that was a integral part of BH philosophy but these posts suggest otherwise.

As an aside, I don't know why you care if I decide to keep working for a another month, year or decade instead of retiring? Just let me be me and save the sarcasm, don't see how it adds to the discourse.
Interesting that we have such different views on this post. I thought it was valid, albeit in a more humorous manner, as it is basically addresses your concern with one approach- keep working.

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willthrill81
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by willthrill81 » Thu May 16, 2019 9:55 am

MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.
Yes, it did work for 30 years, but if we started down the path of Great Depression 2.0, I wouldn't feel very confident that it would work again. I'm not saying that such an event is likely, but it's definitely not impossible either.
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an incredibly small probability of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
I agree that many folks seem to do a poor job of balancing the risks of not having enough money to fund what they want in retirement against the risks of working longer than necessary. Spending 20% of your remaining life expectancy at a job you don't enjoy to increase your withdrawal strategy's 'survival rate' (a very misleading term) from 96% to 99% seems to be a terrible trade off.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

Admiral
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by Admiral » Thu May 16, 2019 10:01 am

willthrill81 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 9:55 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.
Yes, it did work for 30 years, but if we started down the path of Great Depression 2.0, I wouldn't feel very confident that it would work again. I'm not saying that such an event is likely, but it's definitely not impossible either.
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an incredibly small probability of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
I agree that many folks seem to do a poor job of balancing the risks of not having enough money to fund what they want in retirement against the risks of working longer than necessary. Spending 20% of your remaining life expectancy at a job you don't enjoy to increase your withdrawal strategy's 'survival rate' (a very misleading term) from 96% to 99% seems to be a terrible trade off.
I don't feel (or see) that posters are saying it's not possible. Anything is possible. War, natural calamity, nuclear calamity, civil war, depression...all of these things have happened, and may happen.

We have to plan based on probability, not possibility. How would you suggest one alter their investing strategy if one assumes such events are probable? Gold?

Again, because the possibility exists does not mean we can, or should, or even could plan for it.

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willthrill81
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by willthrill81 » Thu May 16, 2019 10:07 am

Admiral wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:01 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 9:55 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.
Yes, it did work for 30 years, but if we started down the path of Great Depression 2.0, I wouldn't feel very confident that it would work again. I'm not saying that such an event is likely, but it's definitely not impossible either.
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an incredibly small probability of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
I agree that many folks seem to do a poor job of balancing the risks of not having enough money to fund what they want in retirement against the risks of working longer than necessary. Spending 20% of your remaining life expectancy at a job you don't enjoy to increase your withdrawal strategy's 'survival rate' (a very misleading term) from 96% to 99% seems to be a terrible trade off.
I don't feel (or see) that posters are saying it's not possible. Anything is possible. War, natural calamity, nuclear calamity, civil war, depression...all of these things have happened, and may happen.

We have to plan based on probability, not possibility. How would you suggest one alter their investing strategy if one assumes such events are probable? Gold?

Again, because the possibility exists does not mean we can, or should, or even could plan for it.
Whether such an event has a high enough likelihood to warrant planning for or what such preparations would entail would probably be a topic for another thread.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by gmaynardkrebs » Thu May 16, 2019 10:13 am

Admiral wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:58 am
gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:57 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.

The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
While I agree that life is meant to be lived, so to speak, are you saying that flat real returns for 30 to 40 years are an "incredibly small probability?" I would say "unlikely," which is something one should plan for.
Yes. That is exactly what I would say. 30-40 years? In a row? That has never happened in the history of the stock market (which itself is only about 90 years old). There is no way to plan for such an eventuality, so why bother?
No way to plan for it? You mean if you knew that equity returns would be flat for the next few decades, you would not try to save more now, while you are working? You would just cast your fate to the wind? You would resign yourself to an impoverished old age and do nothing? My points is simply that there are steps one could take -- ones that I certainly have taken out of an abundance of caution, because I don't want to be a burden on my children, or dependent on welfare or charity in my twilight years as a matter of personal pride. I am sure you have similar integrity and values as well. So, perhaps we have different scenarios in my mind when we discuss "failure " of our retirement plan?

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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by TheTimeLord » Thu May 16, 2019 10:21 am

MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an incredibly small probability of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
:oops: FWIW, I only want to delay retirement until I feel I would enjoy being retired more than I enjoy working. It really is just that simple. And remember I have the advantage of having taken nearly a year off from work so I believe I have a realistic view of what retirement will be like. This board is a very judgmental place when people don't conform its way of thinking. I had a pet with a terminal illness that was very important to me but I didn't want to suffer. I asked the Vet how I would know it is time and the Vet said "When she has more bad days than good days". That's sort of how I am approaching work, I will leave when I start having more bad days than good days.
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by Admiral » Thu May 16, 2019 10:23 am

gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:13 am
Admiral wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:58 am
gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:57 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.

The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
While I agree that life is meant to be lived, so to speak, are you saying that flat real returns for 30 to 40 years are an "incredibly small probability?" I would say "unlikely," which is something one should plan for.
Yes. That is exactly what I would say. 30-40 years? In a row? That has never happened in the history of the stock market (which itself is only about 90 years old). There is no way to plan for such an eventuality, so why bother?
No way to plan for it? You mean if you knew that equity returns would be flat for the next few decades, you would not try to save more now, while you are working? You would just cast your fate to the wind? You would resign yourself to an impoverished old age and do nothing? My points is simply that there are steps one could take -- ones that I certainly have taken out of an abundance of caution, because I don't want to be a burden on my children, or dependent on welfare or charity in my twilight years as a matter of personal pride. I am sure you have similar integrity and values as well. So, perhaps we have different scenarios in my mind when we discuss "failure " of our retirement plan?
I cannot save any more. Period. Even if I wanted to. So, no. Since I don't KNOW (nor do I believe) that such an event is likely to occur, there is nothing for me to do.

By the way, I do hold 30% bonds. But, if the govt collapses, my guess is I might not get my principal back. :happy There's my abundance of caution. As I noted way upthread, my plan will work with near-flat or negative returns for 30 years. Because I have saved, and continue to save, a lot.

My suspicion is I will reach my FI goal sooner than 8-10 years from now. But who knows.

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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by MikeG62 » Thu May 16, 2019 10:55 am

willthrill81 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 9:55 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.
Yes, it did work for 30 years, but if we started down the path of Great Depression 2.0, I wouldn't feel very confident that it would work again. I'm not saying that such an event is likely, but it's definitely not impossible either.
I actually feel the opposite. I have greater confidence in the ability of the powers that be (gov't, Fed, Treasury, etc...) to manage our way through the start of a Great Depression 2.0 in a way that would be less painful that it was for the Great Depression 1.0. Just look at the steps taken to pull us out of the financial crisis a decade ago. We have the benefit of having learned from the mistakes of the past and the actions that did not work. It's for these reasons I have greater and not lower confidence that even if we started down that path, it would be managed in a way that did not result in flat equities for decade and decades (I think someone up post said 30-40 years). I could be wrong, but it's a bet I am willing to make.
gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:13 am

No way to plan for it? You mean if you knew that equity returns would be flat for the next few decades, you would not try to save more now, while you are working? You would just cast your fate to the wind? You would resign yourself to an impoverished old age and do nothing?
Sure if we KNEW it was going to happen we'd all do things differently. However, we don't know and that is the rub. How much longer are you willing to work to protect against some future unknown that has a very low probability of occurring and all the while allowing the best years of your life to pass as you sit at your desk working, when your retirement plan already has very, very high probability of success? That is the key trade-off.
TheTimeLord wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:21 am
FWIW, I only want to delay retirement until I feel I would enjoy being retired more than I enjoy working. It really is just that simple.
Fair enough.
TheTimeLord wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:21 am
And remember I have the advantage of having taken nearly a year off from work so I believe I have a realistic view of what retirement will be like.
I would simply say that taking a year off from work is totally different from being fully and permanently retired. I think when you eventually get there you will agree with me. Bored is the last thing that comes to my mind when I talk to anyone about my being retired. Life is truly good and we are truly blessed.
Last edited by MikeG62 on Thu May 16, 2019 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by willthrill81 » Thu May 16, 2019 11:09 am

MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:55 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 9:55 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.
Yes, it did work for 30 years, but if we started down the path of Great Depression 2.0, I wouldn't feel very confident that it would work again. I'm not saying that such an event is likely, but it's definitely not impossible either.
I actually feel the opposite. I have greater confidence in the ability of the powers that be (gov't, Fed, Treasury, etc...) to manage our way through the start of a Great Depression 2.0 in a way that would be less painful that it was for the Great Depression 1.0. Just look at the steps taken to pull us out of the financial crisis a decade ago. We have the benefit of having learned from the mistakes of the past and the actions that did not work. It's for these reasons I have greater and not lower confidence that even if we started down that path, it would be managed in a way that did not result in flat equities for decade and decades (I think someone up post said 30-40 years). I could be wrong, but it's a bet I am willing to make.
We're both obviously just speculating at this point. I'm actually fairly optimistic about the future, but at the same time I believe it's worth acknowledging that the past has often had a nasty way of repeating itself when we least expect it.

Personally, I believe that the most prudent way to address this issue is to be as flexible as possible during retirement. It disturbs me to hear some speak of being unwilling to reduce their expenses at all during retirement. They may be setting themselves up for either working significantly longer than necessary and/or being sorely disappointed when they are forced to suddenly and dramatically reduce their expenses later in life.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by MikeG62 » Thu May 16, 2019 11:20 am

willthrill81 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:09 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:55 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 9:55 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.
Yes, it did work for 30 years, but if we started down the path of Great Depression 2.0, I wouldn't feel very confident that it would work again. I'm not saying that such an event is likely, but it's definitely not impossible either.
I actually feel the opposite. I have greater confidence in the ability of the powers that be (gov't, Fed, Treasury, etc...) to manage our way through the start of a Great Depression 2.0 in a way that would be less painful that it was for the Great Depression 1.0. Just look at the steps taken to pull us out of the financial crisis a decade ago. We have the benefit of having learned from the mistakes of the past and the actions that did not work. It's for these reasons I have greater and not lower confidence that even if we started down that path, it would be managed in a way that did not result in flat equities for decade and decades (I think someone up post said 30-40 years). I could be wrong, but it's a bet I am willing to make.

...Personally, I believe that the most prudent way to address this issue is to be as flexible as possible during retirement. It disturbs me to hear some speak of being unwilling to reduce their expenses at all during retirement. They may be setting themselves up for either working significantly longer than necessary and/or being sorely disappointed when they are forced to suddenly and dramatically reduce their expenses later in life.
I agree with you completely.

FWIW, DW and I are following a modified version Guyton and Klinger's Withdrawal Decision Rules - modified to start with a much lower initial WD rate than suggested in their research and correspondingly different tripwires/guardrails for spending adjustments (i.e., their capital preservation and prosperity rules).
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by HomerJ » Thu May 16, 2019 11:59 am

smitcat wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:36 am
gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:57 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.

The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
While I agree that life is meant to be lived, so to speak, are you saying that flat real returns for 30 to 40 years are an "incredibly small probability?" I would say "unlikely," which is something one should plan for.
It is not possible for most folks to plan for a list of unlikely events.
I think "plan for" means having a Plan B or even a Plan C.

It doesn't mean making your Plan A so robust it can handle any possible contingency.

If the Great Depression II happens, my family will still be warm and fed and dry. I'm not working an extra 5-10 years to make sure my family can continue to take European river cruises if the Great Depression II happens.

Plan A includes cruises
Plan B does not.
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by HomerJ » Thu May 16, 2019 12:02 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:09 am
Personally, I believe that the most prudent way to address this issue is to be as flexible as possible during retirement. It disturbs me to hear some speak of being unwilling to reduce their expenses at all during retirement. They may be setting themselves up for either working significantly longer than necessary and/or being sorely disappointed when they are forced to suddenly and dramatically reduce their expenses later in life.
This. "Planning for" unlikely disasters doesn't have to mean saving twice as much. It's just a mental exercise, thinking about how you would handle those situations.
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by smitcat » Thu May 16, 2019 12:05 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:59 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:36 am
gmaynardkrebs wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:57 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

On a related note, many are quick to dismiss something like the Great Depression ever occurring again. While I tend to be an optimistic person, and I'm certainly an aggressive investor, I cannot see how people are so quick to dismiss the mere possibility of such an event. Depending on one's age, that was something that many people's parents went through. It wasn't a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
willthrill81, you know as well as anyone that a 4% withdrawal rate survived in all historical periods (in the US) including during the great depression. My point being that as long as one follows a sensible WD strategy, there should be no need for all this worrying.

The OP through her posts has shown a clear desire to delay retirement as long as possible. This thread being just another way for her to try and justify that. To each their own I guess - I early retired four years ago at 53 and have never been happier (with zero desire to ever work again). Continuing to work in an effort to cover off something with an of occurring robs one of enjoying the healthiest years of their retirement.
While I agree that life is meant to be lived, so to speak, are you saying that flat real returns for 30 to 40 years are an "incredibly small probability?" I would say "unlikely," which is something one should plan for.
It is not possible for most folks to plan for a list of unlikely events.
I think "plan for" means having a Plan B or even a Plan C.

It doesn't mean making your Plan A so robust it can handle any possible contingency.

If the Great Depression II happens, my family will still be warm and fed and dry. I'm not working an extra 5-10 years to make sure my family can continue to take European river cruises if the Great Depression II happens.

Plan A includes cruises
Plan B does not.


The comment was a response to unlikely events - most folks plans A, B, and C will not cover unlikely events.
Unlikely events would include one or both spouses in long term care for 10+ years, portfolio drops of 50%+ for decades, huge inflationary spirals, healthcare unavailable except for full pay, etc.

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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by HomerJ » Thu May 16, 2019 12:44 pm

smitcat wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:05 pm
HomerJ wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:59 am

I think "plan for" means having a Plan B or even a Plan C.

It doesn't mean making your Plan A so robust it can handle any possible contingency.

If the Great Depression II happens, my family will still be warm and fed and dry. I'm not working an extra 5-10 years to make sure my family can continue to take European river cruises if the Great Depression II happens.

Plan A includes cruises
Plan B does not.


The comment was a response to unlikely events - most folks plans A, B, and C will not cover unlikely events.
Unlikely events would include one or both spouses in long term care for 10+ years, portfolio drops of 50%+ for decades, huge inflationary spirals, healthcare unavailable except for full pay, etc.
My Plan B covers 50% stock market crash, not recovering for decades or ever (which is close to what the OP is asking about).
  • Plan B - cut back spending on vacations
My Plan C would cover long-term care, or healthcare unavailable except for full pay.
  • Plan C - downsize housing
Again, these are just mental constructs. These are not plans I want to fall back to. But I've considered them. Plan B wouldn't be that painful.

Hyper-inflation like Zimbabwe is something that does scare me. I'm not sure I'm fully prepared for that. I've actually been thinking about that situation, and trying to figure out how to protect myself. We do have 1/3 of our net worth in real estate, and a year's expenses in i-Bonds, but I probably should have some more of our bond portfolio in TIPs or something.

Another situation I'm not prepared for is economic collapse (virus, war, nuclear winter, zombies). My parents have a place out in the country with water and land where we could go, but I'm going to feel really dumb for not spending 0.25% of my digital 1s and 0s financial assets (that might be worthless in a real catastrophe) on supplies if we end up there someday.

I know that last one is somewhat silly, which is why I haven't bought any seeds or how-to books, or canned goods, or water purification machines, or guns and ammo to stock at my parent's place. My parents and my wife would think I'm crazy, but part of me would like to cover that scenario too.

I'm partly in charge of disaster recovery at my workplace. Maybe that's why I think this way :)
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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by smitcat » Thu May 16, 2019 1:06 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:44 pm
smitcat wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:05 pm
HomerJ wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:59 am

I think "plan for" means having a Plan B or even a Plan C.

It doesn't mean making your Plan A so robust it can handle any possible contingency.

If the Great Depression II happens, my family will still be warm and fed and dry. I'm not working an extra 5-10 years to make sure my family can continue to take European river cruises if the Great Depression II happens.

Plan A includes cruises
Plan B does not.


The comment was a response to unlikely events - most folks plans A, B, and C will not cover unlikely events.
Unlikely events would include one or both spouses in long term care for 10+ years, portfolio drops of 50%+ for decades, huge inflationary spirals, healthcare unavailable except for full pay, etc.
My Plan B covers 50% stock market crash, not recovering for decades or ever (which is close to what the OP is asking about).
  • Plan B - cut back spending on vacations
My Plan C would cover long-term care, or healthcare unavailable except for full pay.
  • Plan C - downsize housing
Again, these are just mental constructs. These are not plans I want to fall back to. But I've considered them. Plan B wouldn't be that painful.

Hyper-inflation like Zimbabwe is something that does scare me. I'm not sure I'm fully prepared for that. I've actually been thinking about that situation, and trying to figure out how to protect myself. We do have 1/3 of our net worth in real estate, and a year's expenses in i-Bonds, but I probably should have some more of our bond portfolio in TIPs or something.

Another situation I'm not prepared for is economic collapse (virus, war, nuclear winter, zombies). My parents have a place out in the country with water and land where we could go, but I'm going to feel really dumb for not spending 0.25% of my digital 1s and 0s financial assets (that might be worthless in a real catastrophe) on supplies if we end up there someday.

I know that last one is somewhat silly, which is why I haven't bought any seeds or how-to books, or canned goods, or water purification machines, or guns and ammo to stock at my parent's place. My parents and my wife would think I'm crazy, but part of me would like to cover that scenario too.

I'm partly in charge of disaster recovery at my workplace. Maybe that's why I think this way :)
I was not implying that you were not prepared for unlikely event(s) just that most folks (the vast majority) are not.
Most folks are not sufficiently prepared for a 'normal'' retirement and not near the %0-100X typical expenses needed for unlikely events.

"I know that last one is somewhat silly, which is why I haven't bought any seeds or how-to books, or canned goods, or water purification machines, or guns and ammo to stock at my parent's place. My parents and my wife would think I'm crazy, but part of me would like to cover that scenario too."
FWIW - a non 'real catastrophe" event occurred here a few years back called hurricane Sandy. It was amazing just how poor things became within one week of a partially paralyzed yet well equipped area, Canned goods, water, fuel , gensets , firearms , medicines , became very handy even with that low level scenario - no where near an 'unlikely' event.

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Re: Does your retirement plan work if stocks are flat or in decline for decades?

Post by Malinois000 » Sat May 18, 2019 1:11 pm

I'm retiring at the end of 2019: Wife and I both have pensions. Plan SS at 62 for wife and 70 for me. Deferred comp (409a) for 120 months will serve as a bridge to RMDs (401Ks and Roths). We are comfortable that we're fine even if market declines as our pensions and SS total more than living expenses. Our after tax savings are primarily in equities while 401Ks are in balance accounts.

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