[Retire Early]
Visual Basic safe withdrawal calculator by dory36.


Visual Basic safe withdrawal
calculator by dory36.

Return to Table of Contents - Home Page

This article was posted on March 25, 2001.

RECompare, by Dory36


by Dory36


This calculator is based on the data and ideas contained in Intercst's Millennium Edition RE calculator. I don't see this as replacing that or the other spreadsheets on the REHP. Instead, I see it as a “browsing” tool, for exploring maximum withdrawals and some different strategies. Click to download the zip file.


There are a few new features, which were my primary motivation for doing this calculator:

  1. Arbitrary term; you can get safe rates for 27 years, for example.
  2. Arbitrary starting year. If you don’t want pre-1935 data to be used, you can omit it.
  3. You can simultaneously display results of three different strategies - Inflation-Adjusted Fixed Withdrawal (same as Intercst's spreadsheets), Fixed Withdrawal (not adjusted for inflation) (same as Intercst's with inflation “turned off” as might be appropriate for mortgage payments), and Fixed Percentage Of Remaining Equity Portfolio (somewhat like Galeno has described). Note, however, that each strategy is calculated on the withdrawals entered in its section.)
  4. A Find W/D function will iterate to find the maximum withdrawal that will achieve a given safe rate. You may do this with either the Inflation-Adjusted Fixed Withdrawal or the Fixed Percentage Of Remaining Equity Portfolio model. In the latter strategy, you may specify a minimum annual withdrawal in unadjusted dollars. A check box near the button in the bottom of the screen allows you to set the minimum to be the greater of the unadjusted minimum withdrawal specified or the inflation-adjusted withdrawal established in the “Intercst” model.
  5. A Find % Equity function, will iterate to find the split between equity and fixed income, for a given withdrawal and fixed income investment, yielding the safest rate. (In many cases, there will be multiple splits achieving the same safe rate; the lowest and highest are reported, to give you starting points for further research.)
  6. Optional: For a given withdrawal, report what years would have been bad years to retire, and how long the portfolio would have lasted. (This is only implemented for the Inflation-Adjusted Fixed Withdrawal strategy. And if the withdrawals are too high, only the first 40 or so bad years are listed.) To activate this, check the box on the right, near Find W/D in the Inflation Adjusted Fixed Withdrawal strategy section.
  7. Display Data, if checked, will open a text window, display the settings, and enter the average withdrawal for the years following a retirement year plus the ending portfolio for the three withdrawal strategies. You can copy this data to Excel or other tools. The columns are labeled “Intercst” for the withdrawals and portfolio that use Inflation-Adjusted Fixed Withdrawal, “Flat” for those using a fixed and unchanging withdrawal amount, and “Galeno” for the strategy of withdrawing a Fixed Percentage Of Remaining Equity Portfolio.
  8. Verbose, if checked, will display, in addition, the actual withdrawal for each year of the term following every possible retirement year, had you followed the “Intercst” model or the “Galeno” model. CAUTION: This takes about 10 minutes on my 500MHz, 128MB RAM machine.



  1. Where interest rates were unavailable, as with 5 year Treasuries in several years, I used the lesser return of Commercial Paper or Intercst's extrapolated TIPS.
  2. Please observe that the Fixed Percentage Of Remaining Equity Portfolio model, as the name implies, calculates the withdrawal amount based only on the equity portion of the portfolio. Unexpected results will occur if you allocate a significant portion to fixed income, and use this section to calculate withdrawals.


Software updated 10/29/00; notes updated 3/25/01; career updated (retired!) 5/1/01

filename = dory36x.html
Copyright © 2001 dory36, All rights reserved.

Send a message to: The Retire Early Home Page