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The Only cFIREsim Review You Need to Read

The Basics

What is cFIREsim?

Essentially, cFIRE sim is a retirement calculator. It’s a little different than most because it measures data about gold, stocks, bonds, and inflation dating back to the late 1800’s and calculated your retirement savings needs based on best and worst case scenarios in the market.

Who is it for?

Anyone who want to achieve Financial Independence and Retire Early (FIRE).

Ease of Use

Super easy, just answer a few simple questions and the simulator will tell you if your early retirement plan is good or needs some work.

The Pros

It allows you to easily try out different retirement plans, it’s free to use, it provides links to other retirement sources, and it provides a more accurate calculation of your retirement plan.

The Cons

Until you learn how to use it, it can be difficult to understand. Navigating it can also be challenging and it doesn’t take things like taxes, monthly withdrawals, and RMDs (required minimum distributions) into account.

The Overall

Financial advisors often use the 4% rule (assuming you’ll withdraw 4% of your retirement portfolio every year for an estimated retirement of 30 years) to calculate if you have enough to last you through retirement. But this method doesn’t calculate for changes in the market so it may not be accurate enough. CFIREsim is different in that it uses historical financial information to calculate fluctuations that are possible in the market to help you determine if you will have enough savings. The simulator uses information dating back to 1871 and calculates gold, stock, bonds, and even inflation. As long as our market never does worse than the great depression, it will help you determine best and worst case scenarios.

The site can be a little difficult to understand the first time you use it. Especially if you use it on a mobile device, where it can be hard to navigate and see all the charts and graphs. The layout is also geared more toward experts and the average joe using it, so it can be hard to understand how to fill out each of the fields and then how to understand the results.

Once you enter all of your information, it provides you with a chart that can be very difficult to understand, and even more difficult to understand how to apply it to your retirement portfolio. Unless you’re a financial pro, the information should be easier to read, understand, and know how to apply it. It should provide more explanation and information, maybe a tutorial and how to use it and how to understand your results.

The Conclusion

It’s free and provides additional resources to retirement planning, which is great. But it’s hard to navigate, especially if you aren’t a financial planner, and it doesn’t help you determine your next steps. There are definitely areas for improvement, but it’s at least worth a try. If you’re having trouble, give their calculations and resources a try, under “Calculators/Other Tools.” Ultimately, the goal is to understand how to plan for your retirement. Calculators like cFIREsim can be a great start, but you will need to take it further by seeking professional advice when you’re ready to start planning.

About the author

Emilie Burke

Emilie is a politics-major turned data engineer. She graduated from Princeton University in 2015 and from Smartly with her MBA in 2016. She lives in North Carolina with her college sweetheart Casey who is currently stationed at Fort Bragg. She enjoys eating food, cuddling with her dog, and binge watching HGTV. She blogs at Burke Does. You can find her around the web at @emilielimaburke.

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