William Bengen 3% SWR too low

The Father Of ‘4% Rule’ Doesn’t Buy 3% Alternative



But he’s a market timer, as it says in the article. How can the 4% rule work with just 20% equities and with some 70something year old guy randomly timing his portfolio allocation in the markets? In other words, while I accept that the data says 4% has great odds of working through most expected markets, I no longer accept the guy who figured that out to opine on the meal he cooked, because he won’t eat it himself.


Lots of people think they’re “smarter than the arithmetic”, from hocus to the average hedge fund manager.

I’d be interested to see if Bengen’s marketing timing of his retirement portfolio has given him any outperformance vs. buy & old of a standard 60/40 allocation. We’ll likely never know. I doubt it has. Even William Bernstein admitted a while back that his advice to emphasize value indexes over growth and diversifying with international indexes has under performed the S&P 500. Only James Simons knows the future.


1 Like

Hard to know if you are being serious about Simons or are being sarcastic. His Wiki indicates that the does have a good record. Does that mean he can predict the future?

Sarcasm is a big part of my charm.

Simons had the good sense to not let the Golden Goose of the Medallion Fund get too big. It’s limited to the 401k contributions of Renaissance Technologies employees and a few friends and family. Plus investors are required to withdraw their annual investment return each year and invest it elsewhere. Otherwise the fund would get too big and their trades would be too visible to other market players.



Yeah, I forgot about your charm factor. Comes with the “minimize the skim” motto and Lefty politics!

1 Like

Taxes are an expense. I’m fine with having lower expenses. My objection is the concept that tax cuts have magical properties. They don’t. In times of high unemployment or economic downturn tax cuts can be stimulative. But those same tax cuts will cause deficits. So you have to weight the benefit of the stimulus with the cost of the deficits and make a sober decision.

In the 1980s a number of smooth-brained politicians made the bizarre claim that tax cuts for the wealthy would eliminate deficits. Obviously, basic common sense says that is impossible. And indeed, the deficits exploded just like every normal person and 99.9% of economists said they would.

Yet the belief that tax cuts will invoke the actions of some magical money fairy still persist against all empirical evidence.

The other part of this is that if tax cuts are beneficial some of the time, that means tax increases are beneficial some of the time too. For example, in times of high inflation tax increases take money out of the economy, which lowers inflation.

So if you are the UK PM cutting taxes in the face of high inflation…Well, that’s just stone cold stupid. Or more likely than stupid, simple willing to sacrifice the country for the sake of a few well-connected rich people. Neither is a good look. But math is hard, so they get away with it.


Wow. My first pulled post already. And all I said was that tax cuts are usually bad. Oh well.


Actually, the pulled post stated the one political party couldn’t do math (and other things).
Pretty political for this board.
FWIW, intercst had a post pulled for a similar reason (just above yours on the list) which was much less political.

And interestingly they are actually only hidden. You can click the show hidden content button and you see it.
That seems ok to me - if you actively seek ‘hidden content’, you have been warned.

It’s possible that political discourse will simply become a matter of viewing hidden posts, but hopefully we are mature enough not to reply to them.


Mine got pulled, too. Apparently the mention of taxes in a Retirement Planning context is “inappropriate, offensive and abusive.”

The value of these boards has declined so much that TMF isn’t not even worth monitoring [LOL}



Actually it was the word cu$s that had your posts pulled. It sounded violent and Motley Fool has an aversion to paper cu$s.


Yeah, I got a post pulled, too. LOL. Evidently there’s a lot of new users Karens. (I halfway expect this post will get pulled, too. Because of calling Karens.)

Funny thing I noticed about somebody on your “ignore” list. On the old boards, as you advanced in the thread, it would skip over their posts. Here, it shows the poster’s name but not the body of their post. Dude, when I say I want to ignore XYZ, I don’t want to see anything from them, not even their name on the (suppressed) post.


Fair enough, I guess. Though it is difficult to keep politics out of investment, especially retirement investing. One has to think about taxes, SS, Medicare, IRAs, etc. Politics insinuates itself into all of that.

It’s not like we were discussing school loan forgiveness. Not that politics. The politics of investing and finance should be fair game.


My guess is that the mention of a particular political party triggered an automatic flag on both posts. Maybe they consider an AI monitor that looks for trigger words as a part of the community? I’m wondering if, since the wording on the post still reads “This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.” (my bolding), do these posts still need to be reviewed by a human to either be permanently pulled or allowed to be seen without having to click on the ignored content link? Or will they remain ‘temporarily hidden’ in perpetuity? That would seem rather silly, but I wouldn’t put it past TMF to not come up with better wording on the warning.

I will point out that it is possible to talk about particular proposed/in place policies that affect taxes, SS, Medicare, etc. without attributing them to a particular political party, but when you start attributing specific behaviors or tendencies to a particular political party without tying it to specific policies, especially when you mention the name of the political party, it will be considered political. To me, both of the flagged posts seemed be more about poking at a specific party than talking about specific policies.



Yes, CMF_Mints has to personally approve any posts in limbo. She posted that she is behind in performing that task.

Whatever you do, don’t ask me to point to that post. My ability to navigate this new site is at best, a bit challenging, to say the least.

I watched a program on C-SPAN the other night, a history professor talking about WWI, WWII, and the US economy. One thing he said I had not realized:

The US was a debtor nation until 1914, having financed its way through the industrial revolution with both domestic - and especially foreign debt, but in 1914 that turned around as the world looked to us to finance (and supply) armaments for the Great War. He also said that we were not “the arsenal of democracy” as we were in the next war.

Anyway, he went on to say we were a creditor nation until 1986, when certain ballooning deficits turned us back to a debtor nation, and we have been ever since.

I have not looked up the figures or checked the statement, but it struck me as reasonable. And even logical.


Actually tax receipts rose from the tax rate cuts mentioned above. But certain politicians refused to reduce the growth of spending that was proposed with the tax rate cuts. In other words, the tax rate cuts worked exactly as promised, but the new revenue was spent even faster than it came it.

1 Like

In nominal numbers, after a year or two, but not in real numbers for a much longer period of time.

Year Total FIT CPI Adjust. Real FIT Gain/Loss $ Gain/Loss %
1980 $249,077 246.8 1.0000 $249,077 N/A N/A
1981 $282,298 272.4 1.1037 $255,768 $6,691 0.027
1982 $276,076 289.1 1.1714 $235,682 ($20,086) (0.079)
1983 $271,645 298.4 1.2091 $224,672 ($11,010) (0.047)
1984 $297,376 311.1 1.2605 $235,913 $11,241 0.050
1985 $321,916 322.2 1.3055 $246,582 $10,670 0.045
1986 $366,979 328.4 1.3306 $275,793 $29,211 0.118
1987 $369,046 340.4 1.3793 $267,569 ($8,224) (0.030)
1988 $412,761 354.3 1.4356 $287,523 $19,954 0.075
1989 $432,838 371.3 1.5045 $287,704 $181 0.001
1990 $447,061 391.4 1.5859 $281,897 ($5,806) (0.020)
1991 $448,349 408 1.6532 $271,207 ($10,690) (0.038)
1992 $476,163 420.3 1.7030 $279,603 $8,396 0.031
1993 $502,720 432.7 1.7532 $286,737 $7,135 0.026
1994 $534,754 444 1.7990 $297,246 $10,509 0.037
1995 $588,331 456.5 1.8497 $318,072 $20,826 0.070
1996 $658,124 469.9 1.9040 $345,659 $27,586 0.087
1997 $727,303 480.8 1.9481 $373,333 $27,674 0.080
1998 $788,452 488.3 1.9785 $398,505 $25,172 0.067
1999 $877,292 499 2.0219 $433,899 $35,394 0.089
2000 $980,521 515.8 2.0900 $469,160 $35,261 0.081
2001 $887,882 530.4 2.1491 $413,140 ($56,020) (0.119)
2002 $796,862 538.8 2.1831 $365,007 ($48,133) (0.117)
2003 $747,939 551.1 2.2330 $334,951 ($30,056) (0.082)
2004 $831,890 565.8 2.2925 $362,868 $27,917 0.083
2005 935,000 585 2.3703 $394,458 $31,591 0.087
2006 $1,024,000 603.9 2.4469 $418,485 $24,027 0.061
2007 $1,116,000 621.106 2.5166 $443,449 $24,964 0.060
2008 $1,031,000 644.951 2.6133 $394,527 ($48,922) (0.110)
2009 $866,000 642.658 2.6040 $332,570 ($61,957) (0.157)
2010 653.198 2.6467
2011 673.818 2.7302
Income Taxes - See Tax Foundation at Tax Foundation Table 4
CPI - All Urban Consumers - 1967 = 100, All Items - old Base - See Notice: Data not available: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
CPI - same - www.bls.gov/ro6/fax/cpihist67_us.pdf
Real FIT adjusted to 1980 dollars

gee who was president then?

1 Like

I see JAFO beat me to it, but let’s look at it a different way. . The first column is receipts as a percentage of GDP. The second column is spending as a percent of GDP. Over the period, spending went down, but receipts went down even more. Remember, the promise was the budget was supposed to be balanced by 1984 at the latest.

1981	19.1	21.6
1982	18.6	22.5
1983	17.0	22.9
1984	16.9	21.6
1985	17.2	22.2
1986	17.0	21.9
1987	17.9	21.1
1988	17.7	20.7
1989	17.8	20.6