Rich, Broke or Dead – How life expectancy plays a role in choosing your withdrawal rate

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by dataguy18

I really like this new calculator that is from the same site as the sidebar fire calculator. It calculates returns using data from historical cycles (like Firecalc and cFiresim) to compare the probabilities of (1) your money growing over the retirement period (“rich”) or (2) running out of money (“broke”) using a 4% (or other) withdrawal rate, and compares it with life expectancy data (i.e. “dead”).

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As age increase, the probability of death, obviously goes up, but it really puts into perspective that while you want to get your failure rate down over a 40-50 year retirement, the most likely scenario by far is that you die before running out of money.

Personally, I used cFiresim in the past to tweak the numbers to try to get my failure rate down to under 5% and preferably 0% to make me more comforable. This tool reframes that whole idea and makes it clear that the probability of failure when i’m 90+ years old, while non-zero, are likely to be very small.

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