Author Topic: SWR: Now I知 confused (UK)  (Read 501 times)

Slow road to freedom

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SWR: Now I知 confused (UK)
« on: February 23, 2020, 08:55:16 AM »
Any UK forumite will be familiar with Monevator, which has a very good weekly roundup of articles that are interesting to, interested in things that we are. I normally enjoy these weekly collections, but one (from a blog that I personally hadn稚 come across before) got me thinking - a not necessarily in a good way.

The central argument is that efficient markets mean prices for stocks etc are 喪ight based upon clever buyers and sellers having complex financial models to reach that price. So rather than model things ourselves, why not let the market do that?

I studied Economics to a fairly rudimentary level, but I understand that markets are always efficient, right, or helpful. But they are a proxy for what people think about things now, and dependent upon the product, the future. Doesn稚 make it right or wrong, of course.

Anyway - the thing that got me thinking was the idea that annuity rates are the market痴 (I.e. insurance companies selling those products) view of what the SWR is today. Now, cleverer folks than I will explain that it can稚 be right because companies have to make a profit, they have to match liabilities with less volatile (!) instruments therefore not lean towards equity, which has a premium (or should have).....

I知 no expert. But there are many things I don稚 know, so I keep reading. I was surprised to learn that in the UK, the proxy SWR is 1.7%. So for every 」100k paid over for an annuity, you might expect 」1,700 per year, forever (well, until death, obviously).

That痴 very different to my perception of a 3-3.5% SWR (in the UK, globally diversified) given I壇 want my stash to last up to 50 years.

The article is here:

I壇 really like some help in understanding - in plain language, please (I知 a simple soul) - what am I missing - and whether I can rest easy that 3-3.5% remains a viable option, so I can call it a day and never have to do paid work again in all but the most extreme circumstances.

Thanks in advance those folks cleverer than me!


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Re: SWR: Now I知 confused (UK)
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2020, 12:00:41 PM »
There痴 a lot of bullshit in this article, (the first paragraph especially is very strawmanny), but it really hits the bottom of the barrel in the last paragraph, when the author basically says 殿nnuity rates are this low because the providers are required to hold low-risk assets, and you shouldn稚 hold any risky assets because risk is bad and will make you run out of money. No, I absolutely want to hold risky assets, because the long-term average return is much higher.

Also, the author then completely shifts the goalposts in the final parenthetical, saying that anyone who claims they can beat 1.7% per annum has a 杜agic investment strategy that can outperform the markets. But we池e not talking about outperforming the market, we池e talking about outperforming UK government bonds. Which any reasonable equity portfolio can do in most years.

And if you still don稚 believe me, I tried a different annuity calculator (from Charles schwab) and it says I could get a single life annuity starting today that returns 3.7% annually. So not only is this article based on crap, it痴 hand-selected, cherry-picked crap.


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Re: SWR: Now I知 confused (UK)
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2020, 12:05:50 PM »
So not only is this article based on crap, it痴 hand-selected, cherry-picked crap.
Which is pretty funny since the opening sentence lambasts the FIRE community for using cherry-picked backtests to support the 4% SWR. Yeah, of course your long term results are going to be worse with conservative annuities.

You should read the Stop worrying about the 4% rule thread.


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Re: SWR: Now I知 confused (UK)
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2020, 12:16:22 PM »
That article was a pantload.  The annuity company also has overhead and needs to make a profit.   Guess where that money comes from?  Hint:  Your wallet. 

Buffaloski Boris

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Re: SWR: Now I知 confused (UK)
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2020, 01:40:10 PM »
Wow. Some rare unanimity in opinion here. I didn稚 think much of the article.

Two big issues I see: (1) annuities include fees and profit for the insurance company that you would keep on comparable investments. (2) the mix of assets underlying an annuity is much more conservative than what we would encounter in most private (FIRE) portfolios. Bonds offer a lousy return right now. Insurance companies may be forced to own them. We aren稚. Risk is generally compensated over time.

My suggestion to anyone who wants to read up on SWRs is to read the series at Early Retirement Now.