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National MAXIMUM Wage?

“You are a fool,” a reader slings at your editor. “I am deleting you today because of your idiotic statements, you socialist.”

Just a quick refresher for anyone new to The Rundown: the top portion of this e-letter is normally reserved for reader feedback — opinions that run the ideological spectrum.

Unlike social media platforms today, we actually appreciate the give and take of ideas. But please don’t confuse readers’ opinions for my own. Back to readers’ opinions…

“No, not tongue in cheek,” a reader says, correcting something we said Monday. “I’m serious.

“If no one made more than $1 million a year, think of the good that could be done. Lower prices on everything because they would have lower wages to pay, and the big shots would have to make do with less.

“I got my proxy vote for Apple today with a vote for the board of directors, and Al Gore is on the board. I voted NO to him. (How does a politician even become a multi-millionaire?) Say Lebron James was paid $1 million instead of $100 million, what could be done with that $99 million?

“If we have a national minimum wage, why not a maximum wage?”

We’ll leave these questions for our readers to respond to… But instead of name calling, how about a thoughtful, well-reasoned discussion?

Send your opinions to, TheRundownFeedback@SevenFigurePublishing.com.

Your Rundown for Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021…

The New “4% Rule”

William Bengen — a MIT graduate and long-time financial planner — made his mark in the retirement space when he developed his thesis that the “maximum safe withdrawal rate” is 4% to preserve retirement portfolios.

Mr. Bengen introduced his “4% rule” in 1994 in a paper titled: Determining Withdrawal Rates Using Historical Data.

Now he’s amended that number…

“The ‘4% rule’ is actually the ‘4.5% rule,’” Bengen says. “I modified it some years ago on the basis of new research.

“The 4.5% is the percentage you could ‘safely’ withdraw from a tax-advantaged portfolio (like an IRA, Roth IRA, or 401k) the first year of retirement, with the expectation you would live for 30 years in retirement.

“After the first year,” he continues, “you ‘throw away’ the 4.5% rule and just increase the dollar amount of your withdrawals each year by the prior year’s inflation rate.

“Example: $100,000 in an IRA at retirement. First year withdrawal $4,500. Inflation first year is 10%, so second-year withdrawal would be $4,950.

“I like to remind people that the 4.5% rule is not a law of nature,” Bengen says, “like Newton’s laws of motion, which will probably never change. Markets can change…

“Both the 2000 and 2007 retirees, who experienced big bear markets early in retirement, appear to be doing OK with 4.5%. However, if we were to encounter a decade or more of high inflation, that might change things.

“In my opinion, inflation is the retiree’s worst enemy,” Bengen contends. “As your ‘time horizon’ increases beyond 30 years, as you might expect, the safe withdrawal rate decreases.

“For example for 35 years, I calculated 4.3%; for 40 years, 4.2%; and for 45 years, 4.1%. If you plan to live forever, 4% should do it.” Now that’s tongue in cheek…

Bengen concludes: “It is possible that in the future the 4.5% rule, which has held up for 50 years, might be violated. But I haven’t seen those circumstances yet.”

Market Rundown for Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021

S&P 500 is down more than 1% to 3,800.

Oil’s stuck in neutral at $52.49 for a barrel of WTI.

Gold is down $11.90 to $1,838.90 per ounce.

Bitcoin is down 7% to $30,059.25.

Send your comments and questions to, TheRundownFeedback@SevenFigurePublishing.com.

We’ll talk more Friday; until then, take care.

For the Rundown,

Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler

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Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler is the publisher of Seven Figure Publishing. He is also the editor of The Rundown and has been with Agora Financial / Seven Figure Publishing since 2005. He's been covering technology and markets for over a decade.

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