THE MARKET DOESN’T ALWAYS COOPERATE, SO A COMFORTABLE RETIREMENT MEANS UNDERSTANDING THE SEQUENCE OF RETURNS.
There isn’t a single portfolio manager, broker, or financial advisor who can control the primary factor that will determine if our money will last. It’s the financial world’s dirty little secret that very few Americans know. And of those who do, very few will ever dare bring it up. That’s why I went to my dear friend, the late Jack Bogle.
Jack Bogle was the founder of the world’s largest mutual fund, Vanguard, and about as straightforward as a man could be. When we spoke for four hours in his Pennsylvania office, I brought up the dirty little secret, and he certainly didn’t sugarcoat his opinion or thoughts.
“Some things don’t make me happy to say, but there is a lottery aspect to all of this: when you were born, when you retire, and when your children go to college. And you have no control over that.”
What lottery was he talking about? It’s the big luck of the draw: What will the market be doing when you retire? If someone retired in the mid-1990s, he was a “happy camper.” If he retired in the mid-2000s, he was a “homeless camper.”