American Investment Services, Inc.

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Introduction to Monte Carlo Simulation

Most retirement “calculators” rely on linear assumptions of the portfolio rate of return.  The problem with this approach is that in reality returns are never consistent from year-to-year.  For instance a portfolio provide an average annual return of 8.0% over a certain period time.  The sequence of the individual returns will have a dramatic affect on the portfolios final value.  Monte Carlo simulation is a technique that attempts to overcome this shortcoming by randomizing the sequence of historical returns and projecting a range of probable outcomes.  This document provides an introduction to Monte Carlo simulation for retirement planing.