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What caught my eye this week.

I am a couple of weeks late to this. But I can’t be the only investing nerd who hadn’t heard – and was surprised to learn – that Bill Bengen has broken his own 4% rule.

For those new to these parts, a short summary.

In the early 1990s Bengen interrogated the historical return data for US shares and bonds. He determined that a 4% withdrawal rate from a retirement pot – increased with inflation after the first year – would nearly always see you through a 30-year retirement without you running out of money.

For more detail read our articles on sustainable withdrawal rates.

I’m not delving into the specifics today. What’s fascinating to me is the man made famous for partially solving the retirement problem / neatly branding a nifty bit of data-mining (pick your poison) has bailed on it in his 70th year.

Alas the primary source for the Bengen revelation lies behind a Wall Street Journal paywall (though a reader letter in response is viewable). I picked up the news on a recent Animal Spirits podcast.

In the podcast retirement demigod Wade Pfau says he hopes the news that Bengen was now 70% in cash will make people realize there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to income after work.

Indeed Pfau estimates that only about a third of the population have the right mindset for an equity-heavy total return drawdown strategy in retirement.

If that’s right then it means most people should be doing something different!

There’s not one rule to rule them all

Too often discussions of alternative approaches to retirement income (such as our old contributor The Greybeard’s equity income trust preference) get talked down as irrational or atavistic.

But in my view the only investing that ever works long-term is the style that works for you.

And as I’ve said many times before, in retirement a different set of problems may mean you’re best off turning to a different solution.

Of course if people making unfounded claims – that dividend income gives you a free lunch, or that an annuity is the only sensible way to invest your retirement pot, or that buy-to-let properties guarantee superior results, or that you need active managers to get you through a bear market (Merryn Somerset-Webb’s latest in the FT ) – then such specifics can be challenged.

My point is simply that there are trade-offs and advantages to all the approaches.

And that includes the ‘4% of a total return’ route – which might still, equally, be exactly right for you.

For once though you don’t have to take my word for it. Just look at the lived reality of Bill Bengen.

The man who wrote the rule on retirement investing is breaking that rule in spectacular fashion, because it turned out not to work for him. I commend him for sharing this so (sort-of) publicly.

Have a great weekend!

From Monevator

Free social care options available to everyone – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Strategies for investing in bear markets – Monevator


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Interest rate raised to 1% by Bank of England – Sky News

Average cost of a UK home reaches record of £286,079 – Guardian

Monthly mortgage borrowing hits £7bn as house prices surge – Yahoo Finance

Klarna to start reporting UK customer debts to credit agencies – Guardian

UK economic snapshot mini-special

Warning of UK economic slowdown as interest rates rise – BBC

Bank of England warns of UK recession this year as it lifts interest rate [Search result]FT

BOE chief sees ‘unprecedented shock’ to people’s incomes – CNBC

The fudging is over, as MPC reveals 10.2% inflation forecast – Guardian

Extent of damage to UK economy from Brexit has been masked – Irish Times

Forget extra NHS cash, Brexit costs UK £173m every week, or £1m per hour – City AM

Both Leavers and Remainers think Brexit has increased the cost of living – Survey

UK-German trade falls sharply since Brexit vote, data show [Search result]FT

Jacob Rees-Mogg, in what world is Brexit in its entirety not an ‘act of self-harm?’ – Herald

Products and services

DIY retirement savers blocked from transferring final salary pensions [Search result]FT

Barclays, Santander, and TSB up rates following BOE decision – ThisIsMoney

Open an account with InvestEngine via our link and get £25 when you invest £100 (T&Cs apply) – InvestEngine

Crypto’s evolution adds new risks to potential rewards [Search result]FT

Start a child’s pension the day they’re born – ThisIsMoney

Should you be sharing your streaming accounts? – Be Clever With Your Cash

Open a SIPP with Interactive Investor and pay no SIPP fee for six months. Terms apply – Interactive Investor

Car insurance costs fall to lowest level in seven years as ‘loyalty premiums’ curbed – ThisIsMoney

Homes for sale with relaxing bedrooms, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

When inflation is high, says Warren Buffett, the best investment is yourself – CNBC

Ominous predictions – Humble Dollar

Why workers are choosing pay packets over flexibility – BBC

Sell in May and go away? – Albert Bridge Capital

When the stock market makes you cry – Banker on FIRE

Morgan Housel on how to invest like an optimist [Podcast]via Apple

Surveying the sell-off mini-special

Attitude adjustment – The Reformed Broker

Good news and bad news about the [US but relevant] market – A.W.O.C.S.

Nobody wants to tell you this – Tony Isola

No pain, no gain – Investing Caffeine

Why it feels worse if you’re a typical stockpicker – The Irrelevant Investor

Naughty corner: Active antics

Spotify is a broken record for investors – The Honest Broker

The highs and lows of the cannabis ETF investing mania – Factor Research

Lessons from the 2022 Berkshire meeting – Novel Investor

Growth crash vs. value splash mini-special

Have growth stocks bottomed? – Morningstar

Evaluating the current arguments in the value vs. growth debate – Validea

European value could top US growth for a decade – MarketWatch

Kindle book bargains

Two Hundred Years of Muddling Through: The surprising story of Britain’s economy from boom to bust and back again by Duncan Weldon – £0.99 on Kindle

Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO is Shaping Our Future by Ashlee Vance – £1.99 on Kindle

Human Frontiers: The Future of Big Ideas in an Age of Small Thinking by Michael Bhaskar – £0.99 on Kindle

Why You?: 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again by James Reed – £0.99 on Kindle

Environmental factors

This is what we need to invent to fight climate change – Vox

Scientists are hoping to grow coral reefs at the base of wind turbines – CNBC

How the shipping industry sails through legal loopholes – Hakai Magazine

Off our beat

103 bits of advice from Kevin Kelly at 70 – The Technium

We’re flushing some of our best Covid data down the toilet – Slate

London’s lost ringways – Works in Progress

“Embarrassed to be British”: Brexit study reveals impact on UK citizens in EU – Guardian

Quartermass: the sci-fi series that terrified a generation – BBC

Escape to Zoom island – GQ

Hacking Russia was off-limits. The war has made it a free-for-all – WSJ

As good as it gets [On death, cancer]Get Rich Slowly

Everything’s a WeWork now – Wired

The machine learning job market in 2022 [Very curious piece]Eric Jang

And finally…

“Wealth is not an absolute. It is relative to desire. Every time we yearn for something we cannot afford, we grow poorer, whatever our resources. And every time we feel satisfied with what we have, we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess..”
– Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety

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The post Weekend reading: Bengen bails on the 4% rule appeared first on Monevator.

Everyone has a plan until they’re punched in the face, plus the rest of the week’s good reads…
The post Weekend reading: Bengen bails on the 4% rule appeared first on Monevator.

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