Background- sequence of returns

Last week, I wrote about what to do if you encounter a bear market while in the accumulation phase, you can read that post here. In another (older) post titled THE 4% RULE – PART 2 (SEQUENCE OF RETURNS) – Lazy Fi Dad, I discussed the sequence of returns risk. The sequence of returns risk is the risk of a bear market occurring early in your retirement years.

A week ago, I saw a post from Gavin on the F.I.R.E. UK group. Gavin and his wife retired in November 2021 so the sequence of returns risks became, for them, the sequence of returns reality. He was asking about decumulation strategies but I was fascinated with his unique situation. I asked to interview him. Luckily, he agreed. You can listen to it here

The interview with Gavin about sequence of returns

I found Gavin’s situation fascinating. I can write as much as I want about the sequence of returns risk but it will all be theoretical and hypothetical. Until I retire I will never know what it FEELS to have your portfolio go down in value just as you decide to retire. Luckily, Gavin was willing to share his experience and I’m very grateful for that.


I did not edit this call at all, I wanted to keep the conversation in its original form so it sounds like… well… a conversation. You can hear me pausing sometimes, trying to pick my words, I’m fine with that because that’s how it really went down. I’m sure that if I’ll do some more of these, I’ll become better at it.

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My (random) thoughts about the interview

I think these random thoughts will make more sense after you listen to the interview.

  • How amazing is it that this is Gavin’s first Zoom call in over 6 months?
  • Gavin’s (and his wife’s) route to FI is simple but inspiring. They’re a couple (with kids) that just invested and let time do its thing (compound). Nothing too complex, no big lottery wins or anything like that. I love hearing stories like that- a simple plan that works if you stick to it. I also related to his story a lot (although we’re still on our journey to FI).
  • Reaching FIRE before 55, more than 10 years earlier than the “average person”. I love this path.
  • The most fascinating thing on this call for me was that this was his fifth(!) bear market. As he experienced four previous bear markets during his accumulation phase, they mentally prepared him for this moment.
  • Gavin and his wife only took half of their bonuses and invested the rest, I love that approach to prevent lifestyle inflation.
  • He has a spreadsheet older than me! If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.
  • This market crash showed that bonds are not exactly the perfect hedging instrument for market crashes.
  • Gavin goes to the gym 6 days a week! Bravo Gavin!

I hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions for Gavin (or me), leave them in the comments section and I promise to pass them on (I don’t promise he’ll answer haha).