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Search results for: 4% rule

Be Like the Smiths

Adam M. Grossman  |  Apr 16, 2023

NETFLIX BEGAN AN experiment in 2003 that seemed crazy to management experts. It instituted a policy of unlimited vacation time for its employees. In the years since, a number of other companies have followed Netflix’s lead, offering employees unlimited paid time off.

The results have run counter to intuition: Employees who are offered unlimited vacation end up taking less time off than those working for companies with traditional vacation policies. Why? A common explanation is that people struggle when they lack clear guidelines.

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Riding the Rails

Adam M. Grossman  |  Mar 5, 2023

“HOW MUCH CAN I withdraw from my portfolio each year?” It’s one of the most common questions that retirees ask.
In the past, I’ve talked about the 4% rule, a popular tool for addressing this question. Among the reasons it’s so popular is its simplicity: In the first year of retirement, a retiree withdraws 4% of his or her portfolio, and then that amount increases each year with inflation. If you have a $1 million portfolio,

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No Need to Guess

Adam M. Grossman  |  Feb 26, 2023

IN FORT LAUDERDALE, an unusual property sits wedged in among a row of waterfront mansions. It’s a 35-acre patch of wooded wilderness with just a single home, called Bonnet House. It was for many decades the winter residence of a woman named Evelyn Bartlett.
She first began spending winters at Bonnet House in the 1930s, and she continued to live there following her husband’s death in the 1950s. By the 1980s, however, the property’s assessed value had reached $30 million,

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Kicking the Tires

Adam M. Grossman  |  Feb 5, 2023

IT’S HUMAN NATURE to be impressed by things that sound sophisticated or seem complex. In the world of personal finance, this certainly applies to the planning tool known as Monte Carlo analysis.
Its roots go back to the 1940s, when it was developed by Stanislaw Ulam, a physicist working on the Manhattan Project. Today, it’s a popular way to assess the strength of a proposed retirement plan. If you’ve seen presentations indicating that a financial plan has a particular probability of success,

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The Long Game

Jonathan Clements  |  Feb 4, 2023

RUNNING OUT OF MONEY is retirement’s biggest financial risk—though this, of course, never actually happens. Thanks to Social Security, almost all retirees will have some monthly income, no matter how long they live.
Still, Social Security alone probably won’t make for a comfortable retirement, though it is the financial cornerstone for many. In fact, Social Security accounts for at least 50% of income for half of retirees. That includes a quarter of those age 65 and up for whom their monthly benefit is at least 90% of their income—a statistic I find shocking.

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Just Do It

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 3, 2023

AS A REGULAR READER of HumbleDollar, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, I pick up all kinds of pointers on investing. And the more I read, the more I think I may have been doing it wrong all these years. My approach to picking investments is more aligned with a dartboard than a spreadsheet.

I’ve never owned an exchange-traded fund. I don’t know what the VIX is,

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Don’t Bet the Bank

Adam M. Grossman  |  Jan 15, 2023

LAST WEEK, I TALKED about Carveth Read, the English philosopher who’s famous for saying, “It is better to be vaguely right than exactly wrong.” This, in my view, is one of the most important ideas in personal finance.
My focus last week was on the “vaguely right” part of Read’s statement. But what about the second part—the importance of not being “exactly wrong”? Below are seven situations in which trying to be exactly right might,

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A Place to Start

Richard Quinn  |  Jan 11, 2023

I JUST READ THAT the 4% rule is making a comeback. From where, I thought?

Under the 4% rule, you withdraw 4% of your nest egg in the first year of retirement. If you had $1 million, you’d take 4%, or $40,000. In year two, you’d add inflation to your previous year’s withdrawal. Say inflation ran at 6%. You’d multiply $40,000 by that 6% to get the second-year adjustment of $2,400. Add that to the prior year’s $40,000,

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Tiresome Debates

Jonathan Clements  |  Sep 17, 2022

WHEN I WORKED at The Wall Street Journal, editors used to quip that, “There are no new stories, just new reporters.” I don’t know whether that’s the case with politics, sports and technology articles, but it sure rings true for personal finance and investing stories. All too often, the latest hot topic just seems like a rehash of something I’ve witnessed—and often written about—before.
That brings me to three financial arguments that never seem to end.

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Retirement Riddles

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 1, 2022

I SPEND SIGNIFICANT time reading the viewpoints of people who are planning for retirement or who are already retired. My frequent reaction: What are they thinking?
When I review retirement planning discussions on Facebook and elsewhere, I often find the participants show little understanding of how to proceed or even what some basic terms mean. Here’s a sampling of the confusion and uncertainty I come across:

Should people aim to replace 70%, 80% or some other percentage of their preretirement income?

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Drawdown Drawbacks

Richard Connor  |  Mar 8, 2022

LOTS OF RESEARCH has been done on the best way to generate retirement income. It’s one of the most popular topics on HumbleDollar. I think this popularity is driven by two things: its obvious importance—and the fact that there’s no one right answer.
By contrast, figuring out how much we need to save for retirement is relatively easy. It isn’t hard to pick a future retirement date, or at least a range of years during which we’ll likely retire,

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After You Leave

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 20, 2022

VIEW ANY NUMBER of YouTube videos on retirement planning, and you’ll find advice on how much you need to save each month, how to invest, how much to accumulate and how to generate retirement income. The same is true for the experts who write blogs.
All this information relates to the retiree. Rarely—actually never—have I seen a discussion about survivor benefits. Even the 4% rule uses an assumed 30-year retirement period, apparently ignoring the possibility that retirement income needs to last over two lifetimes that may extend beyond 30 years,

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Four Debates

Adam M. Grossman  |  Feb 13, 2022

HARRY MARKOWITZ WAS a graduate student in economics at the University of Chicago. It was 1954, and he had just finished defending his thesis. Most of the committee accepted his work. But Milton Friedman, an economist with a national reputation and easily the most influential member of the economics faculty, had a problem. While he found no errors in Markowitz’s work, the problem was that it contained no economics. Markowitz’s thesis was about investments and,

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A Modest Proposal

Adam M. Grossman  |  Jan 2, 2022

LOOKING BACK OVER the past two years, one word comes to mind: extreme. It’s been a period of extremes in the market and the economy. Many have benefitted, but we’ve also seen excesses that aren’t necessarily healthy—from the rise in NFTs to the craze in SPACs to the boom in day trading. That’s why, as you look ahead to the coming year, the theme I recommend is moderation.

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Four or Less

Sanjib Saha  |  Nov 21, 2021

A RECENT ARTICLE from Morningstar suggested that the 4% rule for sustainable retirement withdrawals should be revised downward to 3.3%. This lower rate, the researchers argued, is safer given today’s rich stock market valuations and low bond yields.
The article also recommended being flexible with withdrawals, by taking larger amounts in good markets and smaller withdrawals during down periods. This strategy could provide more lifetime income than fixing a withdrawal amount in the first year and then automatically increasing that sum each year with inflation.

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