Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

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Patzer
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Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Patzer »

I am writing this post from the perspective of a single 41 year old man with no heirs and no plans to change that.

On this forum, we often go on about how we need to plan to 85, 90, 95, or even 100!
My chance of living to 85 is 37.5%, 90 is 19.9%, 95 is 6.5%, and 100 is 1.1%.
So, it's clear that I am going to have a lot of excess money buried with me if I plan that far out, but it's actually far worse than these numbers.

It's worse, because even if I do live to 95, there is almost no chance that I am actually going to be living a life that is enjoyable at 95 years old.
Most people stop really enjoying and living their life well before they die. They also don't spend as much money later in life, because they simply are no longer up for doing things.

So, it seems risky to trade in healthy years in my 40s or 50s to make sure I am flush with cash in my 90s, when I won't be able to enjoy the money anyways.
For most of us we fear Sequence of Return Risk, where we spend too much early, and are broke when we are old.
I fear what I am calling "Sequence of Health Risk", where I give up healthy years in my 40s/50s, so that I can sit in a recliner and stare at squirrels out the window in my 90s, with a 7 figure bank account.

It's hard to get good data on quality of life, but for me the meaning of quality of life is being physically active, travelling, and engaging with other people at parties, tailgates, clubs, etc.

These activities all wane with age.
For hiking, Appalachian trail data shows lots of success from 18-65, a big decline from 65-70 and then pretty much no one older than that succeeding to complete it. I do occasionally encounter someone in their 70s on a trail, but it's exceedingly rare.
For travel, I found a study on travel to Europe and found that tourists, aged 45-64 more than doubled tourists who were 65+. Anecdotal data from my life suggests that people get most of their travelling in before 75, and then become more stationary.
For engaging with other people, my own life experience suggests that people stay pretty active in their community while working, and even in the first 5 years after retiring, but slowly disappear into the shadows.
Even something as simple as how much people dine out, drops 43% for people 75+ vs 65-74.
A US government study shows that those 75+ spend 36% less than those 65-74, and that includes the higher medical costs they incur.

I could give dozens of anecdotes of people I have known that have stopped enjoying their lives at ages ranging from 50s (health issues) all the way to a man who enjoyed his life up to 87, but is now 92 and hasn't been happy for 5 years. All this leads me to believe that even if I do get lucky enough to live a long life, there is a very good chance many of the years at the end of that life won't be as enjoyable and won't require as much money to fund.

So The BIG Question is...
What age is it worth planning living a full life to?
How old have the people in your life enjoyed a full life to?

If I retire at 50, am I really retiring for a 40-50 year retirement that requires a massive X spending number?
Or am I really retiring for 25 years of normal spending, from age 50 to 75, and then from 75+ I won't have much energy to do things and my social security will be enough to pay most of my costs?
It's a big difference too...
For a portfolio of 70% US Stocks, 15% 10 year Treasuries, and 15% 3 month T-Bills, with a 98% success rate at the monthly start date level of granularity in back-testing, looking at 1914-Present (Fed Era):
To fund a 50 year retirement, you needed 28X.
40 years, 26.5X
30 years, 24.6X
25 years, 23X

Really important to note that those were the 98% success rate numbers. 98% success rate also means that 98% of the time you actually ended up with more money than you needed.
The historical mid-point (50% Success) from 1914-Present (Fed Era), was as follows:
50 years, you needed 17.5X
40 years, 16.4X
30 years, 14.6X
25 years, 13.6X

I am not advocating for saving only 14X, but I certainly have a hard time seeing a need to save more than 25X even for someone retiring at 50.
Counter to the common idea of spending carefully in early retirement to avoid a bad sequence of returns, there seems to be a lot of value gained by retiring earlier and/or spending more early in retirement, when your health is more likely to allow you to enjoy it, and accepting a more modest life if you do survive well into old age.
gavinsiu
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by gavinsiu »

The answer is that you must find your own balance. In my opinion, you should not hope for a retirement richer than the one you live in the present, but for practical purposes you must live below your mean so you have money for retirement. For a lot of people a lifetime of saving like 20% of income is probably enough if you retire in your 60's. If you want to retire early, you have to save more and reduce your expenses.

The question you have to ask is what you considered a full life? A lot of good things in life do not require a boat load of money.
AlohaJoe
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by AlohaJoe »

This 2016 article covers most of the research on this line of thinking.

https://www.kitces.com/blog/age-banding ... -category/

As it notes, a combination of the "end of history illusion" cognitive bias and the relative complexity of trying to take it into account tends to mean it is pretty rare for people to talk about.
Ari
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Ari »

You are assuming no significant advances in longevity. I’m 39, and I’d assign a far higher probability than 1% that I live to 100. Heck, I’d assign a higher than 1% probability that I live to 200. There’s a lot happening in the longevity field, and significant advances in health and life span are likely on the horizon. It’s hard to estimate probabilities for this, but I don’t think it’s wise to discount it, unless you plan to avoid any such technologies that become available.
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Wannaretireearly
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Thanks for this post. I have similar thoughts.

Go-go years thru 75 or 80 max.
Family in their high 90’s so I get the longevity push, but after 80 it’s been tough and definitely in slow go years. Past 90 I’d bet on no- go.

Die with Zero (book) has very similar thoughts. If I’m counting healthy years where I’m free (not looking after others), there may not be more than 10-15 years of high travel and go-go after age 50.
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marcopolo
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by marcopolo »

Ari wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:16 am You are assuming no significant advances in longevity. I’m 39, and I’d assign a far higher probability than 1% that I live to 100. Heck, I’d assign a higher than 1% probability that I live to 200. There’s a lot happening in the longevity field, and significant advances in health and life span are likely on the horizon. It’s hard to estimate probabilities for this, but I don’t think it’s wise to discount it, unless you plan to avoid any such technologies that become available.
Seems those advances have been "on the horizon" for a long time. Do you have anything specific you are thinking about?

There has been an increase in average life span, but that has come mostly from lower early mortality and things like safer cars. Actual longevity has not really gone up in decades.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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TJat
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by TJat »

I’ve given this some thought as well, though only 38, so very theoretical. I personally have zero interest in living in a LTC facilitate with minimal awareness or bodily function. I’d be very unhappy if that also drained my life savings and kept it from my daughters. Unlike perhaps living at home until death, it’s very difficult to do the above “modestly.” preventing that situation is a challenge
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Shallowpockets »

You did a good analysis. I am 72, still traveling. But I can see the validity of older as less.
I would say that overall you should concentrate on your health. That is a basic. Because even if you retain interest in activities as you age up, you may not be able to do them. Also anecdotally, you do not see many obese people even living beyond 80. That being one side of health. So assess yourself in that area.
Your full life should start now. It needn’t be an all in thing. You could still work and play.
At 39, maybe you could take a gap year and see how it goes. Maybe all the things you think you want to do will not occur even then due to some sort of self limitation. It is easy to dream the dream but once in it, 24/7, maybe you will find to be a bit boring.
Overall I think your analysis puts you at 75 max. Consider the after 75 time also. Because it will be there and need to be dealt with. Maybe at that point the definition of a full life to you will be different then what you believe it to be now.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

Even if you aren’t a triathlete and hitting the clubs at 85, your friends and family will very likely want you to be alive as long as possible. You may find that they make life worth living even if you can’t do everything you once enjoyed. Maybe there will be other things you enjoy like playing with your great grandchildren or seeing all the new inventions and changes in the world. I agree with the other commenter about health being the greatest asset, and money helps protect that too. I heard a podcast recently about how the first recipient of social security lived to 105 despite an actuarial likelihood of 78 and SS of $22 a month. I plan for 95, which is the age many of my relatives passed, although some left us earlier (and some left us while they were still alive, but who’s counting).

Sometimes just waking to a nice breakfast and seeing the sun rise can be a kick. Youth passes but each decade has its own priorities and amusements. Comfort can be a great help to quality of life vs being old and broke! One of my distant relatives who passed at 93 lived alone in a two bedroom suite at a high end assisted living facility operated I think by a Ritz Carlton or another such luxury chain, had excellent care and enjoyed watching classic movies at home (poor eyesight made reading difficult) and occasionally going to a social event. Others who lived a long time enjoyed getting her hair done and going out for dessert with their family after dinner. Having the money to do that in comfort made a difference for them - and they both went through depression and wars in their earlier lives.

I read an article that said it’s much easier to be poor when young, but it’s terrifying to be poor when old. And one can greatly contribute knowledge, wisdom, kindness and professional expertise into old age!
Last edited by AnnetteLouisan on Mon Nov 21, 2022 9:11 am, edited 5 times in total.
dcabler
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by dcabler »

It's all probabilistic which is great when applied to large populations. But your own mileage WILL vary.

As for my wife and I, we both have some longevity on both sides of our families. My Dad made it to 92 and was doing just fine until the last year of his life when he was clearly "done" with it. His older sister and older brother to 94. Same for my great grandmother on my mom's side. Wife's grandparents both made it to mid 90's. We're both healthy and both active in our early 60's. As long as we're not depriving ourselves, I don't see any reason not to plan for longevity, even if the reality will be that we will become (hopefully) gradually less active over time. Worst case, our daughter gets a bigger inheritance.

An older thread on this subject, complete with a link to the "rich, broke, or dead" calculator.
viewtopic.php?t=260050

Cheers.
Small Law Survivor
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Small Law Survivor »

My mother lived to 93. Father two months short of 90. Grandparents all at least 90. Aunts and uncles all late '80s or 90+.

However, after 85 their lives were greatly constrained by their health. When my mother was 90 she knew who everyone was, but could not control any aspect of her life (food, bills, clothing, personal care), and had to have a 24/365 home aid live with her.

A few years ago my primary care doctor told me that 85 was a good goal, and that anything beyond that life was not worth living. That is consistent with what I witnessed in my family.

My father's health was terrible the last five years of his life. I will never forget when he said to me, sometime in his mid- or late '80s, "I never expected to live this long." My father was an MIT-trained chemical engineer, WWII vet and a super smart guy. He planned everything very carefully - his business, finances, family .... He saw how long the generation that preceded him had lived, and he just never thought he would live to 89.10.

I visited him every weekend. More than once when I asked him what I could bring him he would say, "bring me a gun."

Food for thought .....
71 yrs. mostly-retired lawyer. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard long before that) under various names
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nisiprius
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by nisiprius »

The uncertainty is large. As with investment performance, people really wish they knew the future and go in for ridiculously precise precision, as with longevity "calculators" that add so many years for keeping fit and subtract so many for smoking. (It's a myth that you can tell anything useful from your extended family history; the correlation between parental and child longevity in the Framingham study was something like 7%).

Of course, there is a generalized human unwillingness to give up anything today for the sake of something in the future, period--let alone an uncertain future. Old age is unpleasant to contemplate and it is easy for young people to dismiss concerns by saying "Oh, I don't need to plan for long-term care, because I would shoot myself long before I would go into a nursing home." I don't think that's serious, it's just a way of saying "I don't care to think or talk about this."

What's a "full life," exactly?

What does "enjoy the money" mean, exactly? As my wife and I age, we turn up the thermostat a bit in winter, we buy newer cars to get the driver safety-assist features, we start hiring people to do chores we used to do ourselves (e.g anything involving climbing a ladder).

Do people "enjoy" having home health aides? Compared to not having them? If you hire a home health aide are you "enjoying your money?"

If you decide that you are "too old" to pay $21 to put up a tent for three days in a campsite with no facilities but a vault toilet and water, and that when you try to see the eclipse in 2024 you are going to stay in a hotel, does that mean you are not "living a full life?"

There is a related error: taking an average as a certainty and planning for the average. This works for public policy and insurance companies, but it's irrelevant for individuals.

If I simply review the circle of old people I've known, I think the findings are obvious. One transitioned from assisted living to nursing home, and in good enough cognitive shape to complain about everything. One was housebound and leading a restricted but not necessarily inexpensive ($10,000 for a stairlift, who knows how much for a mobility van). One was "frail" but functional, calling the paratransit van to take her downtown where she could toddle around on her walker and buy lottery tickets. One of them owns a sailboat and a few months ago went cruising for two weeks on Lake Erie. He posted pictures of the mast on Facebook and musing about not liking the tiny swivel-out footholds, but he needed to climb it, so he did. The CEO of a company I worked for did competitive stair-climbing (racing up skyscapers) in his seventies. In other words... there's a huge variation, and don't kid yourself that you know which category you will fall in.

I won't try to prove a point by tabulating cases of famous people doing great things after age X. It's much more important to observe that while it may not be the norm, it is quite common for people to be toddling around happily, or at least not miserably, into their late eighties and early nineties. Past a hundred, for women.

I agree that I haven't seen any kind of quantitative statistics on quality of life and statistics of dispersion of quality of life.

I think the Blanchett "retirement spending smile" has been wildly overpublicized and overquoted by financial advisors, because they are desperate to justify some safe withdrawal number that's higher than that depressing 4% 3¾% 3½% . Remember, it's a "smile," which itself is positive spin: the upturn in expenses in old age is not a happy thing. And, again, it is just an average, and common sense and personal experience suggest that the dispersion is so wide that you can't plan on being average.

I am personally in favor of "death with dignity" but I don't think it obviates the need to plan for the credible possibility of wanting to stay alive beyond 85, and needing to spend money for comfort, or even alleviation.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by apsuGuy »

Totally agree, why I pulled the plug at 58.5 and am pulling (gasp) more than 4% currently to enjoy life while able. 3 anecdotal data points have affected me - cousin, healthy triathlete, gets pancreatic at 54 and dead in 10 months. Best friends just became empty nesters, she gets diagnosed stage 4 pancreatic and given a year tops.

Lastly my parents, dad lived to 89 and mom still going at 88. I see they spent next to nothing - regular visits to the library gave real satisfaction and much more was just too much trouble.

I look at spouses and mine social security and think yeah, if I'm forced to live on nothing but that in my 80's, if I'm lucky enough to make it, we'll be fine. And really am I likely to just burn my portfolio to 0 between now and then? Greatly doubt it. Go live life while you are able!
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8foot7
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by 8foot7 »

95 without taking more than 4% seems to cover most of the tail risk for me. It’s a decade longer than anyone in my family has lived. For assisted living and other health expenses, I am happy to start eating as much of the seed corn then if I have to.
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by WoodSpinner »

Patzer,

How did you do the modeling to come up with your multiples? Personally, they seem very low and NOT in line with what others have reported (EarlyRetirementNow, Morningstar for instance).

I agree with others that you need to find a reasonable balance between life today and saving for life tomorrow. You can easily get out of balance if you focus too much on Today or on the Future. Throw in the huge uncertainty of our Health, Employment, Market Returns, and our Future Life and finding the balance can be tricky.

Personally, I always lived below my means and set a targeted savings rate (25%) and then felt free to spend the rest and enjoy life. The future is uncertain but I improve my odds of an enjoyable life if I focus on Family, Friends, Hobbies and Saving Enough.

WoodSpinner
faanger101
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by faanger101 »

Patzer wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:43 am
So The BIG Question is...
What age is it worth planning living a full life to?
How old have the people in your life enjoyed a full life to?
Best guess is looking at your relatives. Nobody across mine made it past 80. Full life stops around 70-75.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by faanger101 »

Ari wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:16 am You are assuming no significant advances in longevity. I’m 39, and I’d assign a far higher probability than 1% that I live to 100. Heck, I’d assign a higher than 1% probability that I live to 200. There’s a lot happening in the longevity field, and significant advances in health and life span are likely on the horizon. It’s hard to estimate probabilities for this, but I don’t think it’s wise to discount it, unless you plan to avoid any such technologies that become available.
"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." :mrgreen:
Lynette
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Lynette »

No one really knows how long we will live. I loved travelling and "saw the world" or the parts that interested me. I worked into my mid-seventies to afford this. My best advice is the live as healthy a life as you possibly can. I am horrified at the lifestyle of some of my friends in an older group to which I belong. My blood pressure started to rise and I decided to lose some weight. The problem has gone away and my blood pressure is normal again. My doctor says that 50% of the problems with his patients are caused by being overweight. I've decided to increase my aerobic exercise and eat more green vegetables. None of friends seems willing to take any action so I have decided to shut up or leave the group.
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Patzer
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Patzer »

WoodSpinner wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 9:53 am Patzer,

How did you do the modeling to come up with your multiples? Personally, they seem very low and NOT in line with what others have reported (EarlyRetirementNow, Morningstar for instance).
It's updated EarlyRetirementNow data at 98% Success Rate, note that people that demand 100% success might need ~2X more to get it, which seems like overpaying to cover a small risk to me.
I am using 1914-Present, instead of their default of 1871-Present. The Fed was created in 1914, and the 1871-1914 data really brings down their numbers in a way that isn't particular relevant to the FED Era.
Frankly, I think 1934-Present is a better data set, since it gets us the FDIC and Fiat money, but I am reluctant to exclude the Great Depression from calculations.

A lot of people that advocate for really high X expense numbers are going with the worst possible start date (100% success) and there is a big difference even with a 3 month offset.
For example, for 30 years retiring at 9/30/1929, you needed 26X, but if you retired 3 months earlier or later.
6/30/1929 22.3X
12/31/1929 19.7X

Not in my previous numbers, but it's notable that there are huge benefits historically from more diversification than the very simply portfolio I listed. I.e. if just 10% was moved from Large Cap to SCV, the X expenses were much lower from those start dates.
9/30/1929 23.4X (2.6X less)
6/30/1929 20.3X (2X less)
12/31/1929 17.9X (1.8X less)
quantAndHold
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by quantAndHold »

It’s all a balancing act. Averages tell us absolutely nothing about how long we will live or what kind of quality of life we’ll have on the way there. I know people in their late 90’s who still play competitive basketball, and I know people who’ve died of cancer at 29.

I think it makes sense to do the things you want to do as you have time and money, within reason. I retired at 53 to be able to travel with my much older wife, and I don’t regret a minute we spent or a penny we left on the table by doing that, but realistically, we were already in good shape financially, and we will likely still have plenty in the bank when we’re 90.

But by the same token, the average 95 year old spends less than a younger person, but none of us is an average person. If I want or need a home health aide or a housekeeper, or to pay for a nursing home, I want to have enough saved to be able to do that. I’ve seen what a Medicaid bed in a nursing home looks like. Subsisting on what Medicaid pays for is not an existence I want to contemplate.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by LilyFleur »

Lynette wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:30 am No one really knows how long we will live. I loved travelling and "saw the world" or the parts that interested me. I worked into my mid-seventies to afford this. My best advice is the live as healthy a life as you possibly can. I am horrified at the lifestyle of some of my friends in an older group to which I belong. My blood pressure started to rise and I decided to lose some weight. The problem has gone away and my blood pressure is normal again. My doctor says that 50% of the problems with his patients are caused by being overweight. I've decided to increase my aerobic exercise and eat more green vegetables. None of friends seems willing to take any action so I have decided to shut up or leave the group.
This. Kudos to you!
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Watty
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Watty »

Patzer wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:43 am Really important to note that those were the 98% success rate numbers. 98% success rate also means that 98% of the time you actually ended up with more money than you needed.
A more important thing to keep in mind is that unless you are planning on a bare bones retirement lifestyle is that when you run a retirement calculator that a 2% chance of failure does not mean that there is a 1 in 50 chance that you will end up broke and homeless and living on the streets.

"Failure" usually really just means that there is a 2% chance that you might need to do something like reduce your spending by 10 or 20 percent when you are in your 70s or 80s if your portfolio is not doing well.

(The retirement calculators also have a problem with the uncertainty and margin of error math where thinking that they can predict things within 2% is dubious but that is a topic for another thread.)

Compared to a lot of posters here I have a pretty middle class lifestyle but even I could reduce my retirement budget by 10 or even 20 percent and still have a comfortable lifestyle by reducing spending on some things like travel or other extras.

One thing I did when I was deciding if I could retire or not was that I set up a retirement calculator to see how the results changes as I increased my spending by 5%, 10%, etc and I would have had to increase my spending by a LOT to get my success rate down to 80 or 90 percent. That would mean that there would be a 10 to 20 percent chance that I might need to reduce my spending.

Your risk tolerance may be different but I am not too concerned that there might be a 10 or 20 percent chance that I will need to reduce my spending some if I live to be 95.

Someone already pointed out the "Rich, Broke, or Dead" retirement planner and that helps you see that even if there is a 10% chance of "failure" there might only be a 1% chance that you will actually live to "fail" and reduce your spending. If you will still be comfortable if that happens I would not be too worried about it.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Lynette »

LilyFleur wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:24 pm
Lynette wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:30 am No one really knows how long we will live. I loved travelling and "saw the world" or the parts that interested me. I worked into my mid-seventies to afford this. My best advice is the live as healthy a life as you possibly can. I am horrified at the lifestyle of some of my friends in an older group to which I belong. My blood pressure started to rise and I decided to lose some weight. The problem has gone away and my blood pressure is normal again. My doctor says that 50% of the problems with his patients are caused by being overweight. I've decided to increase my aerobic exercise and eat more green vegetables. None of friends seems willing to take any action so I have decided to shut up or leave the group.
This. Kudos to you!
Thanks, I will make friends with the people in my gym. This morning at 7:00 a,m, there was an 84-year old lady swimming in the lane next to me. Another elderly lady I knew pre-Covid was going for a session with her personal training.

Best health to all.

Lynette
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by brian91480 »

I've seen it all: Someone speculating that they could possibly live to age 200... with future technological advances. Better start saving more money!!!! 🤣

For my job, I do a lot of networking. I know a lot of people from a wide array of life circumstances. The OPs stats do jive with what I've seen, generallyspeaking.

There can be exceptions. I had coffee last week with a 91 year old woman who remains active in her church, and travels... with a few limitations. She seems really happy with her quality of life. She's an outlier. I see most people slowing down around mid 70s.

Because I'm a person who eats fine, exercises more than most people, maintains a healthy weight, don't smoke or excessively drink.... I'll guess that my GO GO YEARS will be... Average of other people + 5 years.

But let's not kid ourselves. We're all likely to go downhill, in regards to high quality of life, within the same general age range... unless there's a serious medical issue that occurs even sooner than that.

This is a good post to remind myself about retiring early... and hope that I'm lucky enough to be in good health when i hit my X number.

Working 1 day longer than absolutely necessary is a huge risk on my remaining time of being healthy.

--- Brian
TheNightsToCome
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

AnnetteLouisan wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 7:37 am I read an article that said it’s much easier to be poor when young, but it’s terrifying to be poor when old. And one can greatly contribute knowledge, wisdom, kindness and professional expertise into old age!
For many it appears that increased spending = increased living, but the correlation has been very weak in my life, and when in my 20s it was essentially zero. However, life shrinks in old age; fewer possibilities and fewer capabilities. Money didn't matter much in my youth, but I expect it will be a great comfort in old age.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:22 am My mother lived to 93. Father two months short of 90. Grandparents all at least 90. Aunts and uncles all late '80s or 90+.

However, after 85 their lives were greatly constrained by their health. When my mother was 90 she knew who everyone was, but could not control any aspect of her life (food, bills, clothing, personal care), and had to have a 24/365 home aid live with her.

A few years ago my primary care doctor told me that 85 was a good goal, and that anything beyond that life was not worth living. That is consistent with what I witnessed in my family.

My father's health was terrible the last five years of his life. I will never forget when he said to me, sometime in his mid- or late '80s, "I never expected to live this long." My father was an MIT-trained chemical engineer, WWII vet and a super smart guy. He planned everything very carefully - his business, finances, family .... He saw how long the generation that preceded him had lived, and he just never thought he would live to 89.10.

I visited him every weekend. More than once when I asked him what I could bring him he would say, "bring me a gun."

Food for thought .....
I am a physician caring for many patients with a limited quality of life due to health issues at much younger ages. Still, many of my patients do have a good quality of life in upper 80s and early 90s. A few have done well even beyond that. Given steady progress in medicine, it's reasonable to expect more of that in the future.

It's nuts to say life beyond 85 isn't worth living.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by InMyDreams »

Some ski resorts give free lift passes to anyone 80+. I've known at least two people who took advantage of that, one into his 90s.

My father canoed with friends in the Quetico well into his 80s. Both my parents traveled independently and in tour groups into their latter 80s.

I think it was in an article by Atul Gawande where a physician talked about an end-of-life conversation with her father. He gave the parameters where he would want to continue to live. When he had a major stroke, they did treat - and dad went on for several years, requiring assistance, but enjoying life the way he had outlined to his MD-child.

Live life in the now, plan to support yourself as much as possible in the future.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Such a paradox with this discussion. Both sides valid.
I don’t think anyone is saying not to plan on living past 85.

However there are things you likely will not be able to do after 85-90 (heli sking, back backing around Europe etc).

Key is balance as always. I think I trend towards more experiences and spend in my go go years 50-80? After that social security plus other savings should do the job.

My dad passed away early, my grandparents are alive, still living at home at ages 98 and 97! I totally get the dichotomy!

It comes down to probability, once the chance of running out of money is nearly 0 (great post from Watty above explains this), it’s more about pacing out and spending/experiencing life in my hopefully healthy 50s. To do this, I’ll likely need to give up (at least I think) the relatively stressful tech/IT job I have.

When I see friends/family/others take on more stress/responsibility in their 50s, when I know they are very financially well set, it puzzles me.

I honestly think folks don’t think about this enough. There is a tendency to just plow forward with stressful careers, not really think of the alternatives, or really understand that you have a big enough nest egg to leave the hamster wheel.

Edit: it helps me break down phases and general priorities in my life:

Thru 20 - mostly education
20-30 - career and fun
30-40 raising young kids
40-50 raising young adults (right now)
*50-70 my health and happiness
*70-80 likely looking after parents or family/grandkids
*80-90 staying sane :)
*90+ Not being a burden on others

I am not good at working on multiple priorities (the male in me ;) ).

When I think about what is likely to come up as top priority it reminds me to retire on time at age 50. Note: career was a priority for a very small time for me, and health should have been more of a focus up until now - work is my main excuse and I want to remove that somehow (taper down, part time, retire)
Last edited by Wannaretireearly on Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by bh1 »

I was wondering the same a few years ago and did the following:
  • downloaded the social security mortality tables
  • computed the probability in each year of: both alive, both dead, spouse dead, me dead
  • chose a minimum investment income required over expected social security
  • money is denominated in Current Year Dollars, so inflation drops out as long as portfolio is invested in inflation protected assets like gov't bonds (TIPS)
  • chose a single probability P and require that, in any given year, the chance that we run out of money is less than P
  • resulting output is the initial size of a (say) TIPS portfolio, denominated in Current Year Dollars
Mostly what I learned from this exercise is that a 100% bond portfolio has to be very large. Invest in stocks, folks!
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

bh1 wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:33 am I was wondering the same a few years ago and did the following:
  • downloaded the social security mortality tables
  • computed the probability in each year of: both alive, both dead, spouse dead, me dead
  • chose a minimum investment income required over expected social security
  • money is denominated in Current Year Dollars, so inflation drops out as long as portfolio is invested in inflation protected assets like gov't bonds (TIPS)
  • chose a single probability P and require that, in any given year, the chance that we run out of money is less than P
  • resulting output is the initial size of a (say) TIPS portfolio, denominated in Current Year Dollars
Mostly what I learned from this exercise is that a 100% bond portfolio has to be very large. Invest in stocks, folks!
How did this impact your life decisions? What did you do differently at different ages? Retire, travel, work part time, etc
Death and taxes. Only one is under your control!
JayB
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by JayB »

A very thought provoking discussion here! Longevity runs on my dad's side, and he is 102 with probably more years left.

I plan in my projections with spouse for each of us to live to age 95. I'm not sure I would really want to live longer if it involves chronic pain, advanced dementia, or 24/7 skilled nursing care with limited mobility.

I've been haunted on and off since 2014 by Ezekiel Emanuel's provocative article, Why I Hope to Die at 75. I don't agree with much of what he says, but it gets me thinking, particularly his stating that "Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either."
bh1
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by bh1 »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:41 pm
bh1 wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:33 am I was wondering the same a few years ago and did the following:
  • downloaded the social security mortality tables
  • computed the probability in each year of: both alive, both dead, spouse dead, me dead
  • chose a minimum investment income required over expected social security
  • money is denominated in Current Year Dollars, so inflation drops out as long as portfolio is invested in inflation protected assets like gov't bonds (TIPS)
  • chose a single probability P and require that, in any given year, the chance that we run out of money is less than P
  • resulting output is the initial size of a (say) TIPS portfolio, denominated in Current Year Dollars
Mostly what I learned from this exercise is that a 100% bond portfolio has to be very large. Invest in stocks, folks!
How did this impact your life decisions? What did you do differently at different ages? Retire, travel, work part time, etc
No life impact. That wasn't the purpose of the calculation. The question was, how much cash do we need so that we aren't solely on SS income when we are old? The chance of that happening is P. Pundits always say, "invest so you can sleep at night," which is the most useless advice ever. How can anyone rationally choose the "correct" P? Well, at least I turned the risk into a number. That's good for something, right?

The actual result was this: If I could have a portfolio AA close to 0/100 with a small P, I would do that, as it has minimal risk. Since that isn't what is happening, I have more like 60/40 at the moment. For our ages, genders, SS income, income needs, and 100% TIPS, we would need: P=20% -> 40x; P=10% -> 43x; P=5% -> 45x; P=2% -> 48x; P=1% -> 50x; P=0.1% -> 54x; P=0.01% -> 57x. It isn't very steep, but 25x in bonds is a non-starter.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by jabberwockOG »

nisiprius wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:43 am The uncertainty is large. As with investment performance, people really wish they knew the future and go in for ridiculously precise precision, as with longevity "calculators" that add so many years for keeping fit and subtract so many for smoking. (It's a myth that you can tell anything useful from your extended family history; the correlation between parental and child longevity in the Framingham study was something like 7%).

Of course, there is a generalized human unwillingness to give up anything today for the sake of something in the future, period--let alone an uncertain future. Old age is unpleasant to contemplate and it is easy for young people to dismiss concerns by saying "Oh, I don't need to plan for long-term care, because I would shoot myself long before I would go into a nursing home." I don't think that's serious, it's just a way of saying "I don't care to think or talk about this."

What's a "full life," exactly?

What does "enjoy the money" mean, exactly? As my wife and I age, we turn up the thermostat a bit in winter, we buy newer cars to get the driver safety-assist features, we start hiring people to do chores we used to do ourselves (e.g anything involving climbing a ladder).

Do people "enjoy" having home health aides? Compared to not having them? If you hire a home health aide are you "enjoying your money?"

If you decide that you are "too old" to pay $21 to put up a tent for three days in a campsite with no facilities but a vault toilet and water, and that when you try to see the eclipse in 2024 you are going to stay in a hotel, does that mean you are not "living a full life?"

There is a related error: taking an average as a certainty and planning for the average. This works for public policy and insurance companies, but it's irrelevant for individuals.

If I simply review the circle of old people I've known, I think the findings are obvious. One transitioned from assisted living to nursing home, and in good enough cognitive shape to complain about everything. One was housebound and leading a restricted but not necessarily inexpensive ($10,000 for a stairlift, who knows how much for a mobility van). One was "frail" but functional, calling the paratransit van to take her downtown where she could toddle around on her walker and buy lottery tickets. One of them owns a sailboat and a few months ago went cruising for two weeks on Lake Erie. He posted pictures of the mast on Facebook and musing about not liking the tiny swivel-out footholds, but he needed to climb it, so he did. The CEO of a company I worked for did competitive stair-climbing (racing up skyscapers) in his seventies. In other words... there's a huge variation, and don't kid yourself that you know which category you will fall in.

I won't try to prove a point by tabulating cases of famous people doing great things after age X. It's much more important to observe that while it may not be the norm, it is quite common for people to be toddling around happily, or at least not miserably, into their late eighties and early nineties. Past a hundred, for women.

I agree that I haven't seen any kind of quantitative statistics on quality of life and statistics of dispersion of quality of life.

I think the Blanchett "retirement spending smile" has been wildly overpublicized and overquoted by financial advisors, because they are desperate to justify some safe withdrawal number that's higher than that depressing 4% 3¾% 3½% . Remember, it's a "smile," which itself is positive spin: the upturn in expenses in old age is not a happy thing. And, again, it is just an average, and common sense and personal experience suggest that the dispersion is so wide that you can't plan on being average.

I am personally in favor of "death with dignity" but I don't think it obviates the need to plan for the credible possibility of wanting to stay alive beyond 85, and needing to spend money for comfort, or even alleviation.
Great advice.
am
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by am »

I am thinking that you may spend less on travel and leisure as you get older, but there is a chance you may need more care and assisted living, long term care as well?
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

bh1 wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 1:09 pm
Wannaretireearly wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:41 pm
bh1 wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:33 am I was wondering the same a few years ago and did the following:
  • downloaded the social security mortality tables
  • computed the probability in each year of: both alive, both dead, spouse dead, me dead
  • chose a minimum investment income required over expected social security
  • money is denominated in Current Year Dollars, so inflation drops out as long as portfolio is invested in inflation protected assets like gov't bonds (TIPS)
  • chose a single probability P and require that, in any given year, the chance that we run out of money is less than P
  • resulting output is the initial size of a (say) TIPS portfolio, denominated in Current Year Dollars
Mostly what I learned from this exercise is that a 100% bond portfolio has to be very large. Invest in stocks, folks!
How did this impact your life decisions? What did you do differently at different ages? Retire, travel, work part time, etc
No life impact. That wasn't the purpose of the calculation. The question was, how much cash do we need so that we aren't solely on SS income when we are old? The chance of that happening is P. Pundits always say, "invest so you can sleep at night," which is the most useless advice ever. How can anyone rationally choose the "correct" P? Well, at least I turned the risk into a number. That's good for something, right?

The actual result was this: If I could have a portfolio AA close to 0/100 with a small P, I would do that, as it has minimal risk. Since that isn't what is happening, I have more like 60/40 at the moment. For our ages, genders, SS income, income needs, and 100% TIPS, we would need: P=20% -> 40x; P=10% -> 43x; P=5% -> 45x; P=2% -> 48x; P=1% -> 50x; P=0.1% -> 54x; P=0.01% -> 57x. It isn't very steep, but 25x in bonds is a non-starter.
Got it! Thanks. I’ll take P = 10% as good enough!
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by nedsaid »

My rule of thumb is that you want to have your bucket list items checked off as much as possible by age 75. Doesn't mean that a person or a married couple can't enjoy robust health well into their eighties but my personal observation is that the wheels will often start coming off health wise at about age 75. For a married couple, often what happens is that one enjoys relatively good health while the other starts developing bigger problems around that time. When one or both of you starts having very serious and debilitating health issues, then your travel days are pretty much over.

So not at all saying that one can't have a full, rich, and meaningful life right up to the end but robust health doesn't last forever. For a married couple, plan to get the big trips and vacations mostly done by age 75.

These observations were of people who took good care of themselves and lived clean lives. Sometimes people have health issues all of their lives, the extreme example is Dr. Stephen Hawking who lived with ALS for over 50 years. So what I outlined was just a very general rule of thumb. There are all kinds of exceptions.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Gnirk »

nedsaid wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:09 pm My rule of thumb is that you want to have your bucket list items checked off as much as possible by age 75. Doesn't mean that a person or a married couple can't enjoy robust health well into their eighties but my personal observation is that the wheels will often start coming off health wise at about age 75. For a married couple, often what happens is that one enjoys relatively good health while the other starts developing bigger problems around that time. When one or both of you starts having very serious and debilitating health issues, then your travel days are pretty much over.

So not at all saying that one can't have a full, rich, and meaningful life right up to the end but robust health doesn't last forever. For a married couple, plan to get the big trips and vacations mostly done by age 75.

These observations were of people who took good care of themselves and lived clean lives. Sometimes people have health issues all of their lives, the extreme example is Dr. Stephen Hawking who lived with ALS for over 50 years. So what I outlined was just a very general rule of thumb. There are all kinds of exceptions.
Well said. You never know when a health issue is going to slap you in the face. I’m 78 and would love to travel, both domestically and internationally, while I still can because there are so many places I want to see and experience. Unfortunately, My DH has had some nasty health issues starting about 6 years ago, and now with severe neuropathy traveling is not in our future because of his very limited mobility and pain. It would be unfair to him if I were to leave him at home and continue to travel. Although we were able to check off a lot of the things on our bucket lists, I truly wish we had done a lot more travel in our younger years. We had the money, we had the time, we didn’t have the foresight.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Alpha4 »

Patzer wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:50 am
WoodSpinner wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 9:53 am Patzer,

How did you do the modeling to come up with your multiples? Personally, they seem very low and NOT in line with what others have reported (EarlyRetirementNow, Morningstar for instance).
It's updated EarlyRetirementNow data at 98% Success Rate, note that people that demand 100% success might need ~2X more to get it, which seems like overpaying to cover a small risk to me.
I am using 1914-Present, instead of their default of 1871-Present. The Fed was created in 1914, and the 1871-1914 data really brings down their numbers in a way that isn't particular relevant to the FED Era.
Frankly, I think 1934-Present is a better data set, since it gets us the FDIC and Fiat money, but I am reluctant to exclude the Great Depression from calculations.

A lot of people that advocate for really high X expense numbers are going with the worst possible start date (100% success) and there is a big difference even with a 3 month offset.
For example, for 30 years retiring at 9/30/1929, you needed 26X, but if you retired 3 months earlier or later.
6/30/1929 22.3X
12/31/1929 19.7X

Not in my previous numbers, but it's notable that there are huge benefits historically from more diversification than the very simply portfolio I listed. I.e. if just 10% was moved from Large Cap to SCV, the X expenses were much lower from those start dates.
9/30/1929 23.4X (2.6X less)
6/30/1929 20.3X (2X less)
12/31/1929 17.9X (1.8X less)
I take it you are aware of all the issues with SCV data before, say, the mid or late 1950s....and especially during the 1930s? If not, you might not want to count on such high historical SCV outperformance. I would still expect some level of outperformance going forward....but is is almost certain that the returns during the 1930s recovery period from the 1932 and 1933 bottoms are likely rather overstated.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by sean.mcgrath »

Patzer wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:43 am
Most people stop really enjoying and living their life well before they die.
Happiness studies disagree with you. I'd be a bit careful rationalizing 'spend it now' on this sort of hand waving.
Patzer wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:43 am So The BIG Question is...
What age is it worth planning living a full life to?
How old have the people in your life enjoyed a full life to?
You're mixing up 'doing the same things you enjoyed at 40' with 'living a full life.' My own model is indeed that spend will go down later in retirement, although I also expect to spend 25% more than pre-retirement in my early years.

I tend to agree with the 'no need for 100% success rate.' In your case, I would personally model: early years, +25% of pre. After age 80, 50% of pre, and go for a 95% success rate.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by nedsaid »

Gnirk wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 10:14 pm
nedsaid wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:09 pm My rule of thumb is that you want to have your bucket list items checked off as much as possible by age 75. Doesn't mean that a person or a married couple can't enjoy robust health well into their eighties but my personal observation is that the wheels will often start coming off health wise at about age 75. For a married couple, often what happens is that one enjoys relatively good health while the other starts developing bigger problems around that time. When one or both of you starts having very serious and debilitating health issues, then your travel days are pretty much over.

So not at all saying that one can't have a full, rich, and meaningful life right up to the end but robust health doesn't last forever. For a married couple, plan to get the big trips and vacations mostly done by age 75.

These observations were of people who took good care of themselves and lived clean lives. Sometimes people have health issues all of their lives, the extreme example is Dr. Stephen Hawking who lived with ALS for over 50 years. So what I outlined was just a very general rule of thumb. There are all kinds of exceptions.
Well said. You never know when a health issue is going to slap you in the face. I’m 78 and would love to travel, both domestically and internationally, while I still can because there are so many places I want to see and experience. Unfortunately, My DH has had some nasty health issues starting about 6 years ago, and now with severe neuropathy traveling is not in our future because of his very limited mobility and pain. It would be unfair to him if I were to leave him at home and continue to travel. Although we were able to check off a lot of the things on our bucket lists, I truly wish we had done a lot more travel in our younger years. We had the money, we had the time, we didn’t have the foresight.
Life is still very much worth living, still many good experiences that you can have together. Many best wishes, Ned.
A fool and his money are good for business.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by JasonHutt »

Patzer wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:43 am I am writing this post from the perspective of a single 41 year old man with no heirs and no plans to change that.

On this forum, we often go on about how we need to plan to 85, 90, 95, or even 100!
My chance of living to 85 is 37.5%, 90 is 19.9%, 95 is 6.5%, and 100 is 1.1%.
So, it's clear that I am going to have a lot of excess money buried with me if I plan that far out, but it's actually far worse than these numbers.

It's worse, because even if I do live to 95, there is almost no chance that I am actually going to be living a life that is enjoyable at 95 years old.
Most people stop really enjoying and living their life well before they die. They also don't spend as much money later in life, because they simply are no longer up for doing things.

So, it seems risky to trade in healthy years in my 40s or 50s to make sure I am flush with cash in my 90s, when I won't be able to enjoy the money anyways.
For most of us we fear Sequence of Return Risk, where we spend too much early, and are broke when we are old.
I fear what I am calling "Sequence of Health Risk", where I give up healthy years in my 40s/50s, so that I can sit in a recliner and stare at squirrels out the window in my 90s, with a 7 figure bank account.

It's hard to get good data on quality of life, but for me the meaning of quality of life is being physically active, travelling, and engaging with other people at parties, tailgates, clubs, etc.

These activities all wane with age.
For hiking, Appalachian trail data shows lots of success from 18-65, a big decline from 65-70 and then pretty much no one older than that succeeding to complete it. I do occasionally encounter someone in their 70s on a trail, but it's exceedingly rare.
For travel, I found a study on travel to Europe and found that tourists, aged 45-64 more than doubled tourists who were 65+. Anecdotal data from my life suggests that people get most of their travelling in before 75, and then become more stationary.
For engaging with other people, my own life experience suggests that people stay pretty active in their community while working, and even in the first 5 years after retiring, but slowly disappear into the shadows.
Even something as simple as how much people dine out, drops 43% for people 75+ vs 65-74.
A US government study shows that those 75+ spend 36% less than those 65-74, and that includes the higher medical costs they incur.

I could give dozens of anecdotes of people I have known that have stopped enjoying their lives at ages ranging from 50s (health issues) all the way to a man who enjoyed his life up to 87, but is now 92 and hasn't been happy for 5 years. All this leads me to believe that even if I do get lucky enough to live a long life, there is a very good chance many of the years at the end of that life won't be as enjoyable and won't require as much money to fund.

So The BIG Question is...
What age is it worth planning living a full life to?
How old have the people in your life enjoyed a full life to?

If I retire at 50, am I really retiring for a 40-50 year retirement that requires a massive X spending number?
Or am I really retiring for 25 years of normal spending, from age 50 to 75, and then from 75+ I won't have much energy to do things and my social security will be enough to pay most of my costs?
It's a big difference too...
For a portfolio of 70% US Stocks, 15% 10 year Treasuries, and 15% 3 month T-Bills, with a 98% success rate at the monthly start date level of granularity in back-testing, looking at 1914-Present (Fed Era):
To fund a 50 year retirement, you needed 28X.
40 years, 26.5X
30 years, 24.6X
25 years, 23X

Really important to note that those were the 98% success rate numbers. 98% success rate also means that 98% of the time you actually ended up with more money than you needed.
The historical mid-point (50% Success) from 1914-Present (Fed Era), was as follows:
50 years, you needed 17.5X
40 years, 16.4X
30 years, 14.6X
25 years, 13.6X

I am not advocating for saving only 14X, but I certainly have a hard time seeing a need to save more than 25X even for someone retiring at 50.
Counter to the common idea of spending carefully in early retirement to avoid a bad sequence of returns, there seems to be a lot of value gained by retiring earlier and/or spending more early in retirement, when your health is more likely to allow you to enjoy it, and accepting a more modest life if you do survive well into old age.
Nothing to add except to say that this is an interesting post.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by bigskyguy »

nedsaid wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:09 pm My rule of thumb is that you want to have your bucket list items checked off as much as possible by age 75. Doesn't mean that a person or a married couple can't enjoy robust health well into their eighties but my personal observation is that the wheels will often start coming off health wise at about age 75. For a married couple, often what happens is that one enjoys relatively good health while the other starts developing bigger problems around that time. When one or both of you starts having very serious and debilitating health issues, then your travel days are pretty much over.

So not at all saying that one can't have a full, rich, and meaningful life right up to the end but robust health doesn't last forever. For a married couple, plan to get the big trips and vacations mostly done by age 75.

These observations were of people who took good care of themselves and lived clean lives. Sometimes people have health issues all of their lives, the extreme example is Dr. Stephen Hawking who lived with ALS for over 50 years. So what I outlined was just a very general rule of thumb. There are all kinds of exceptions.
Sure hits home for me (73). We are still enjoying the ability to see parts of the world that have always intrigued us (Bering Sea, South Georgia, Galapagos), but certainly not with the level of vigor that we did two decades ago. More importantly (and this is sincere), we are actively assisting our four grandsons with college, and getting more satisfaction as we do. We are finding that as we age, the focus of our energy and resources is directed more elsewhere (grandsons, causes), and less on self. As for ourselves, our focus is more security (home, health, friends). Since security trumps the rest for us, having our basic needs secured is paramount (TIPS ladder plus SS). Wants become less important. And I suspect that will only become more so in the coming years.
Gretchen
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Gretchen »

JayB wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:53 pm A very thought provoking discussion here! Longevity runs on my dad's side, and he is 102 with probably more years left.

I plan in my projections with spouse for each of us to live to age 95. I'm not sure I would really want to live longer if it involves chronic pain, advanced dementia, or 24/7 skilled nursing care with limited mobility.

I've been haunted on and off since 2014 by Ezekiel Emanuel's provocative article, Why I Hope to Die at 75. I don't agree with much of what he says, but it gets me thinking, particularly his stating that "Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either."
I have a totally different calculus at age 71.

My son and DIL have said they want kids, but they postponed plans during the pandemic. Now they are happy and settled, and I hope they are ready. I want to live long enough for my grandkids to know me and remember me, so that means 10-15 years after the youngest (if more than one) is born. Ideally I'd like to be at graduation! FIL lived to 96 and was able to be at son's college graduation, but nobody on either side of my family has made it past 91.
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nedsaid
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by nedsaid »

bigskyguy wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 11:44 am
nedsaid wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:09 pm My rule of thumb is that you want to have your bucket list items checked off as much as possible by age 75. Doesn't mean that a person or a married couple can't enjoy robust health well into their eighties but my personal observation is that the wheels will often start coming off health wise at about age 75. For a married couple, often what happens is that one enjoys relatively good health while the other starts developing bigger problems around that time. When one or both of you starts having very serious and debilitating health issues, then your travel days are pretty much over.

So not at all saying that one can't have a full, rich, and meaningful life right up to the end but robust health doesn't last forever. For a married couple, plan to get the big trips and vacations mostly done by age 75.

These observations were of people who took good care of themselves and lived clean lives. Sometimes people have health issues all of their lives, the extreme example is Dr. Stephen Hawking who lived with ALS for over 50 years. So what I outlined was just a very general rule of thumb. There are all kinds of exceptions.
Sure hits home for me (73). We are still enjoying the ability to see parts of the world that have always intrigued us (Bering Sea, South Georgia, Galapagos), but certainly not with the level of vigor that we did two decades ago. More importantly (and this is sincere), we are actively assisting our four grandsons with college, and getting more satisfaction as we do. We are finding that as we age, the focus of our energy and resources is directed more elsewhere (grandsons, causes), and less on self. As for ourselves, our focus is more security (home, health, friends). Since security trumps the rest for us, having our basic needs secured is paramount (TIPS ladder plus SS). Wants become less important. And I suspect that will only become more so in the coming years.
Good for you. A very important part of life is doing good for others. A life just focused on self can get boring in after a while. This is a big part of what I mean that life is always worth living, there is always a well to help others.

I remember I went to a funeral for the mother of a friend some years ago. She passed in her eighties and I was very surprised to see the church packed for her funeral. Almost nobody does that. This lady was well loved, touched a lot of lives with her selfless service. She must have been really something.
A fool and his money are good for business.
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AnnetteLouisan
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

Young man, I assume, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

That’s all I’m going to say!

😁
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Gnirk wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 10:14 pm
nedsaid wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:09 pm My rule of thumb is that you want to have your bucket list items checked off as much as possible by age 75. Doesn't mean that a person or a married couple can't enjoy robust health well into their eighties but my personal observation is that the wheels will often start coming off health wise at about age 75. For a married couple, often what happens is that one enjoys relatively good health while the other starts developing bigger problems around that time. When one or both of you starts having very serious and debilitating health issues, then your travel days are pretty much over.

So not at all saying that one can't have a full, rich, and meaningful life right up to the end but robust health doesn't last forever. For a married couple, plan to get the big trips and vacations mostly done by age 75.

These observations were of people who took good care of themselves and lived clean lives. Sometimes people have health issues all of their lives, the extreme example is Dr. Stephen Hawking who lived with ALS for over 50 years. So what I outlined was just a very general rule of thumb. There are all kinds of exceptions.
Well said. You never know when a health issue is going to slap you in the face. I’m 78 and would love to travel, both domestically and internationally, while I still can because there are so many places I want to see and experience. Unfortunately, My DH has had some nasty health issues starting about 6 years ago, and now with severe neuropathy traveling is not in our future because of his very limited mobility and pain. It would be unfair to him if I were to leave him at home and continue to travel. Although we were able to check off a lot of the things on our bucket lists, I truly wish we had done a lot more travel in our younger years. We had the money, we had the time, we didn’t have the foresight.
Thank you for sharing. This hits home below!
“ We had the money, we had the time, we didn’t have the foresight.”

So many great posts in this thread…
Death and taxes. Only one is under your control!
Calli114
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Calli114 »

nedsaid wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:09 pm My rule of thumb is that you want to have your bucket list items checked off as much as possible by age 75. Doesn't mean that a person or a married couple can't enjoy robust health well into their eighties but my personal observation is that the wheels will often start coming off health wise at about age 75. For a married couple, often what happens is that one enjoys relatively good health while the other starts developing bigger problems around that time. When one or both of you starts having very serious and debilitating health issues, then your travel days are pretty much over.

So not at all saying that one can't have a full, rich, and meaningful life right up to the end but robust health doesn't last forever. For a married couple, plan to get the big trips and vacations mostly done by age 75.

These observations were of people who took good care of themselves and lived clean lives. Sometimes people have health issues all of their lives, the extreme example is Dr. Stephen Hawking who lived with ALS for over 50 years. So what I outlined was just a very general rule of thumb. There are all kinds of exceptions.
I think this is a very reasonable outlook, and is why I’ve decided to prioritize any high altitude or expedition-style trips I may want to take. The more leisurely destinations will still be there if I’m able to travel into my 80s.
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nedsaid
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by nedsaid »

Calli114 wrote: Sat Nov 26, 2022 12:33 pm
nedsaid wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:09 pm My rule of thumb is that you want to have your bucket list items checked off as much as possible by age 75. Doesn't mean that a person or a married couple can't enjoy robust health well into their eighties but my personal observation is that the wheels will often start coming off health wise at about age 75. For a married couple, often what happens is that one enjoys relatively good health while the other starts developing bigger problems around that time. When one or both of you starts having very serious and debilitating health issues, then your travel days are pretty much over.

So not at all saying that one can't have a full, rich, and meaningful life right up to the end but robust health doesn't last forever. For a married couple, plan to get the big trips and vacations mostly done by age 75.

These observations were of people who took good care of themselves and lived clean lives. Sometimes people have health issues all of their lives, the extreme example is Dr. Stephen Hawking who lived with ALS for over 50 years. So what I outlined was just a very general rule of thumb. There are all kinds of exceptions.
I think this is a very reasonable outlook, and is why I’ve decided to prioritize any high altitude or expedition-style trips I may want to take. The more leisurely destinations will still be there if I’m able to travel into my 80s.
At 63, I am not all that old and my health has held up well. That being said, at my age roughing it is a night at a 2 star hotel. I did camping and backpacking as a youth and don't have a big desire for it now.
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by brian91480 »

nedsaid wrote: Sat Nov 26, 2022 12:55 pm At 63, I am not all that old and my health has held up well. That being said, at my age roughing it is a night at a 2 star hotel. I did camping and backpacking as a youth and don't have a big desire for it now.
I talked to my aunt today on the phone. She is 72. She has always been pretty healthy... never overweight.

About 2 years ago she got pretty bad arthritis. It's so bad now... she told me today that she's afraid to go to the airport because she would have too much trouble walking to her gate. So she thinks that she's done traveling for good.

Our time to go on adventures is limited! But staying at 2 star hotels isn't that bad! 👍

--- Brian
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Re: Sequence of Health Risk: AKA What Age is it Worth Planning For a Full Life To?

Post by Holocene »

This is a great topic!

I'm 33 and had intended to "retire" this year. It didn't take me long after starting my first full-time professional office job before I decided I didn't want to do this for the next 40+ years. I've always been frugal and never really upgraded my lifestyle once I started making real money. I bought a house and live comfortably. But most of my enjoyment in life comes from free or very inexpensive (and often physically active) things. I decided I'd much rather buy myself more free time with my money than use it for just about anything else. So that's what I did.

I did not end up retiring. At the last minute, I worked out a leave of absence and a part-time job doing something new and fun. I've been back for about a month now and I'm enjoying it so far. Taking the leave was probably the best decision I've ever made. I didn't realize just how much I needed it and the time away really gave me a new perspective on things. I'd recommend it to anyone feeling burnt out, if they can make it work. For now my life feels pretty well balanced. I'm working 20 hours a week so I have a lot of free time. I was already planning on a decent travel budget (went to Iceland for 3 weeks this fall), but maybe I'll use a bit of the extra income to do some more. There is not really much else that I can think of that I want at this point.

I do think running out of time, and especially time while healthy and active, is the biggest risk we face. I mean, obviously we all die, so we all run out of time in the end. But I mean running out of time to live the life we want to, doing all the things that make us happy. This is a financial forum, so there is obviously a focus on the money. But it seems like sometimes people forget that there is a real risk in chasing ever-lower withdrawal rates to try and hedge against the tiniest of financial risks. That doesn't come without a cost. If you love your job, and spending more money or having a larger financial cushion truly makes you happy, then by all means, continue working. I believe in being intentional in how you spend both your money and your time. But if you hate your job, it's causing you stress, or preventing you from doing the things you'd really like to do with your time, I think it makes sense to get out a bit earlier, even if the risk of running out of money is higher. You just need to accept that you are taking a risk either way. I'd rather take the risk that gives me the freedom to do whatever I want with my time.

I'm not sure what age you should plan to live to. In my situation, I basically need a perpetual withdrawal rate since I'm planning for 2x the standard retirement length and a much shorter work history so much lower social security. Because my expenses are low, my income was pretty high, and I received an inheritance, getting this extra safety did not cost me a lot of time. If it had, I probably would've re-evaluated. I don't think you should plan to be broke at 85. But I think it's ok to plan for a more optimistic case that has you retiring earlier or spending a bit more early on. The key is to re-evaluate and adapt if needed so you don't end up in a bad place. If what you want to do most with your time requires being physically fit and active, I think it makes sense to take a bit more risk early on in order to do those things. You can't get back more time while you're young and healthy. You can probably make more money at some point.
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