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November 21, 2012


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I like your calculator. It gives me a good feedback based on my numbers. I agree that part time work or freelancing is a great way to help reduce pressure on your retirement portfolio. I'm "retired" from my engineering career, but now I'm self employed and generating a small income. We can put off withdrawal from our retirement for another 20 years.
The only problem I have with retirement calculator in general is the fixed 6.5% gain. I like the way FireCalc simulate the stock market better.

Who would ever want to retire at 35?

That was an unheard of idea back in the old days when I was a schoolboy in England during WWII. I was raised at a time when young men strived to have a long and highly rewarding career. I did just that, enjoyed the period from 1951 to 1992 working as an aicraft, and then finally an aerospace engineer, before retiring at the age of 58. My wife and I both retired with nice pensions, and then a few years later, at age 62, received two more monthly checks from Social Security.

What would I have done being retired at age 35, for one thing I would have had 3 kids, aged 6, 9 and 11, would have felt that my education was wasted, and find myself still a young man, far from my prime, sitting on my behind with nothing much to do.

However by 58, I was ready to retire, the kids had left home, we had sizable IRAs, owned two pieces of real estate, a nice investment portfolio and enough money to have nice vacations exploring the world by ourselves.

Amen to the focus on inflation, the greatest of all financial erosions.Thanks FMF

retireby40 - I encourage you to read the book to understand why the FireCalc assumptions are dangerously misleading and why the Ultimate Retirement Calculator is structured the way it is. The reality is there is no perfect solution, but there is research and conscious decision as to why it is the way it is.

Old Limey - "retirement" is in quotations. I've written extensively on this topic. I'm clearly not "retired" in the traditional sense since I'm working as a financial educator and writing books. My focus shifted from career and income earning to creativity and contribution. I'm also working to redefine how people view the terms "retirement" and "financial independence". It is far more amorphous than commonly understood when the true goal is happiness and fulfillment.

I love the first part of this post. Some great crystal-clear thinking! No wonder FMF said the other day he liked your book!

I disagree with not considering each spouse separately.

For a man, it might makes sense to groups the spouses together because a man is most likely to die earlier than his wife.

However from the wife's perspective, especially if she is younger than her husband, she likely needs to factor in enough money to live another 20-30 years after her husband dies, and also to have enough money in case she needs to pay for a second set of debilitating health issues and a second set of long term care costs.

A non married person does not have to consider this, and thus his or her retirement planning will be considerably different that of a married couple.

@ MC If a husband dies 20-30 years before his wife then highly likely he died in his late 60s or early 70s. The calculator has us assuming 90 years as the life expectancy of either single or married couple. The money should be there for his wife, again assuming she lives to 90.

Expected retirement expenses are part of the calculations. If you are single or married, all this is factored and customized for each person(s).

Also, insurance should play a strong part of your total retirement picture to provide safeguards for any other scenarios like the one you aforementioned. For starters, long term care insurance is important for those with less than stellar retirement portfolios.

I'm with MC in principle.

Women need to plan for retirement independent of the financial support they get from their husbands. This doesn't mean the calculator isn't useful; and it is hardly any additional effort to run the calculation three times, once for each spouse separately and once combined.

But the overwhelming majority of married women will be single again in their future for some period of time. This eventuality is overlooked or downplayed in many calculations.

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