The Trinity study is a $300 million, four-year study that will be the largest and most comprehensive study of the effects of marijuana on the brain. The study began in July 2015 and the data from it is expected by mid-2018. Since 2001, more than 65,000 people between the ages of 13-55 have enrolled in the study.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences will be conducting a study to determine how many people would fail a drug test after ingesting marijuana in order to determine how many people would fail a drug test after ingesting marijuana. As it stands, the study is seeking people who have used marijuana or marijuana products in the past year, and have not used it this year. They are being asked to participate in a survey and agree to a series of drug tests. This isn’t the first time the college has done this kind of study this year. They also conducted a similar survey in February with the same results.

The Trinity Study was a massive two-year clinical trial, that was designed to look at whether the addition of Celltrion’s Celltrion’s Ampicillin-resistant Enterococcus Faecium (Ceftaroline) to the treatment of acute bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections, would reduce the occurrence of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection.

(Disclosure: some of the links below may be affiliate links).

You’ve probably heard of the 4% rule if you want to retire early. This rule states that if you withdraw 4% of your portfolio each year, you can sustain these withdrawals for 30 years. But do you know where it comes from? If you’ve read much about it, you’ve probably heard about the Trinity study. This study is where it all started.

But do you know what a Trinity study is? Probably not. Much of what people say about the study of the Trinity is not true. Many people talking about this study haven’t even read the original article.

There is nothing mystical about this study. It’s just a research paper by three professors at Trinity University. Hence the name.

And did you know this has nothing to do with early retirement? So why is this the cornerstone of most early retirement articles?

In this article I want to talk in detail about this paper and what it is! First, let’s look at the content of Trinity’s study. And also what this data shows us. Finally, let’s look at the mistakes people make when they talk about research.

Trinity Study

As I said, the Trinity study is a 1998 research paper. It was written by three professors from Trinity University: Philip L. Cooley, Carl M. Hubbard, and Daniel T. Walz. The current title of this article is Retirement Savings: Selection of an acceptable extraction rate.

He was only nicknamed Trinity because of the university where he was kidnapped. Also because the name of the document can be too long!

This study examines the success rates of different investment portfolios over different time periods with different withdrawal rates.

They examined five different portfolios:

  • 100% of the stock
  • 75% stocks and 25% bonds
  • 50% shares and 50% bonds
  • 25% stocks and 75% bonds
  • 100% Bonds

They looked at four different time periods:

  • 15 years old.
  • 20 years old.
  • 25 years old.
  • 30 years old.

They tested withdrawal rates between 3 and 12%. The withdrawal percentage indicates how much you withdraw from your portfolio each year.

It is important to base withdrawals on the initial value of your portfolio. If your portfolio increases by 10% in the first year, you still withdraw the same amount as in the first year. You do not increase the amount of withdrawals from your portfolio. The only thing you are adjusting is indexing your costs to inflation. Inflation is the only growth taken into account in the study!

Not taking inflation into account would completely change the results of the study!

Outcomes – success indicators

The research paper contains some interesting results. They first looked at success rates after 50 and 70 years. It is important to remember that this is an old document from 1998. The period they examined was from 1926 to 1995. It hasn’t been updated in over 25 years.

The most interesting result for me is the inflation-adjusted success rate for the entire period. They calculated a success rate for each possible 70-year period. Success is defined as the availability of money at the time of expiration. So if you get, say, 10% of your portfolio, that’s considered a success.

100% equity portfolio

Different retention rates were simulated in the study. The withdrawal percentage shows the amount (in percentages) of your initial portfolio that you withdraw each year.

For reference, here are the first results for a 100% equity portfolio

100% stock 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10% 11% 12%
15 years old. 100 100 100 91 79 70 63 55 43 34
20 years old. 100 100 88 75 63 53 43 33 29 24
25 years old. 100 100 87 70 59 46 35 30 26 20
30 years old. 100 95 85 68 59 41 34 34 27 15

Or if you prefer something visual:

100% stock – 1926-1995 – Trinity study

As one would expect, a higher withdrawal rate has a lower success rate. A higher withdrawal rate means you are withdrawing more money each year. The 4% rule assumes that even after 30 years of taking 4% of your initial portfolio, the success rate is still 95%. Thus, in the 4%rule was born!

We also note that above 6%, the success rate drops quite rapidly. With an absorption rate of 8%, the chance of success is less than 50%. No one should risk their retirement with such a high withdrawal rate.

In contrast, with a short-term 15-year deal, 8% still has a 70% chance of success. That’s more than I thought.

100% bond portfolio

Let’s also see what happens when we only have obligations:

100% Nuts 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10% 11% 12%
15 years old. 100 100 100 71 39 21 18 16 14 9
20 years old. 100 90 47 20 14 12 10 2 0 0
25 years old. 100 46 17 15 11 2 0 0 0 0
30 years old. 80 20 17 12 0 0 0 0 0 0

Again in the form of a nice graph:

100% Bonds – 1926 to 1995 – Trinity Study

As you can see, it’s much worse than a 100% stock portfolio. Even with a 4% withdrawal rate, your chances of success are less than 25%. This is because bond yields are minimal. That way, you withdraw more money than you receive each year.

While many believe that bonds are much safer than stocks, this is not always the case. Bonds can be very volatile in certain situations. The reason is that bonds are more complicated than stocks. And many people don’t notice this problem.

I won’t show you all the results. But they’re all in the newspaper. Read the article to find out more.

Portfolio comparison

I thought it would also be interesting to compare the different portfolios directly. The study does not do this directly, but the data is available, so I did it for you!

We are interested in the 30-year success rate. That’s the minimum time we should allow. I would like to see the research continue for at least another 40 years.

Here are the results for each portfolio:

Portfolio 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10% 11% 12%
100% of the stock 100 95 85 68 59 41 34 34 27 15
75% of the stock 100 98 83 68 49 34 22 7 2 0
50% of the shares 100 95 76 51 17 5 0 0 0 0
25% of the shares 100 71 27 20 5 0 0 0 0 0
100% Bonds 80 20 17 12 0 0 0 0 0 0

And here are the results in graph form:

Success rate over 30 years – 1926-1995 – Trinity study

This card is just adorable! We see several important points.

First of all, you need supplies! If you want to maintain your lifestyle, you need to have a lot of capital. Unless you plan to have a withdrawal rate of less than 3%, you will need at least 50% of the shares in your portfolio.

We find that the two best portfolios are a 100% equity portfolio and a 75% equity portfolio. If the redemption rate is low, it is advantageous to have a 25% bond. However, if you want a higher withdrawal percentage (6% or more), you must opt for a capital of 100%.

If you are aiming for a success rate of at least 75%, you can afford a 5% withdrawal rate. However, if you are more cautious and aim for a 90% success rate, a 4% withdrawal rate will work fine for you. Hence the 4% rule!

Results – final values

There is another interesting point in the study. Indeed, the authors tested how high the value of the portfolio was after each period. These values are called end values. This gives a good idea of the safety of theinclusion rate.

The terminal value indicates how much money is left in the portfolio at the end of the entire period. All portfolios start at $1,000. And they tried different withdrawal rates.

Unfortunately, the study only presents the final values of the three portfolios:

  • 75% of the shares
  • 50% of the shares
  • 25% of the shares

I would like to get the same results with a 100% equity portfolio. But it’s interesting.

Ownership of 75% of shares

Let’s look at the terminal values of a 75% equity portfolio. I think this is the most interesting part of the portfolio.

75% of stock 4% 5% 6% 7%
Average 9031 7367 5779 4262
Minimum 1497 0 0 0
Median 8515 6868 5586 3745
Max 16893 14980 13067 11245

And the same data in graphic form:

75% of units – Final values – Trinity studies

As expected, as the withdrawal rate increases, your final values decrease. This makes perfect sense, because you’re taking more money off the table.

It is interesting to note that with this portfolio and a withdrawal rate of 4%, the minimum final value is always higher than the initial value. This means that in the worst case you will earn 40% in 30 years without investing anything! I think that’s very good.

And the maximum values of the clamp are really impressive. In the best case scenario, if you withdraw 4%, you will be left with almost $19,000. This final value is incredible when you consider that you live off your portfolio.

And even with a high withdrawal rate of 7%, the average amount is still $4,000. This average is still four times higher than the original value. Already an excellent result. On the other hand, the minimum can also be zero! In the case of zero, you are in a bad situation where you cannot maintain your lifestyle.

On average, you will still have a lot of money left after 30 years. This means that, under the right circumstances, you can probably keep it forever.

Conclusions of the study

The article ends with some interesting conclusions, like any good article!

First, and this should be obvious, if your portfolio is to support your lifestyle for a long time, you need a lower withdrawal rate. If you lower your withdrawal rate, you increase your success rate. They will not be able to sustain a 10% withdrawal rate for more than 20 years.

Second, bonds help build confidence in low to moderatewithdrawal rates. But they significantly reduce the return on your portfolio. So bonds are not useful if you have higher withdrawal rates. But they will likely reduce the volatility of your portfolio. So bonds can help combat the risk of constant returns.

Then inflation makes it much harder to keep up your spending. If you know that your lifestyle is not subject to inflation, you can use a much higher withdrawal rate. The problem with inflation is that your real withdrawal rate increases each year as your expenses increase.

Finally, if your portfolio is heavily weighted in stocks, you can afford higher withdrawal rates. Moreover, you will probably end up with much more money than you started with. This is interesting if you plan to leave a lot of money to your heirs (or a charity) after your death.

Once you know your target withdrawal rate, you can calculate your Financial Independence Ratio (FIR).

Trinity study delusions

Some of the things I’ve read about the Trinity study are wrong. I would like to clear up some of these misconceptions.

First, the Trinity study has nothing to do with early retirement! The authors created it with the standard retreat in mind. Therefore, after more than 30 years, no success rate has been examined. So if you want to retire at 30, you need to plan for much more than 30!

More importantly, the Trinity study does not say that your money will live forever! Many people think that the 4% rule in the study means that they can keep their net worth forever. But this is not the subject of the study.

The Trinity study did not examine the likelihood of successfully maintaining a lifestyle over the long term. They only checked if there was anything left after a certain time. If you make $1,000 out of a million dollars in 30 years, that still counts as a success from a research perspective. Besides, it’s just a measure of success.

Also, many people seem to ignore the fact that Trinity’s study is over 20 years old! Of course, this age doesn’t mean he’s bad. However, this should be taken into account.

It should also be noted that Trinity only uses the S&P 500 index. It does not refer to a stock market index. It will do very well in the US Broad Index. However, this also means that we cannot extrapolate the results to all countries. For other stock market indices, we need to repeat the experiments.

No one is talking about the terminal value of portfolios. People say they can last 30 years. But in 30 years you’ll probably have a lot more money than when you started. This result is significant. Because this shows that you could have held on to it longer, and that you could have used a higher withdrawal rate than expected.

Finally, many people refer to the 4% rule regardless of the portfolio they wish to use. Research even shows that a success rate of more than 90% is only possible with a portfolio that consists of at least 50% shares. For example, a portfolio made up of 100% bonds has only a 20% chance of success!

If you have a different portfolio, you will have to do the modeling yourself. If you are interested, I have done many more simulations and attached a calculator. See the next paragraph.

Updated results

The biggest problem with Trinity’s study is that it is completely out of date.

Fortunately, we now have more recent stock market data. This way we can restart the simulation. And since I love programming, I decided to do it myself.

I collected stock market data from 1871 to 2021 and repeated the experiments. You can read the updated results of the Trinity 2020 survey. Let’s see if the effect of Trinity’s study persists over longer simulation periods.

And if you want to make your own models, I’ve created a Trinity Study calculator for you.

Other simulations

I have also done several other simulations with this extensive data:

If you have any ideas for other simulations, please let me know!


What is the study of the Trinity?

The Trinity Study is a 1998 study conducted by three professors at Trinity University. The original name was Retirement Savings: Selection of a sustainable extraction rate. This shows that with a 4% withdrawal rate, you can maintain your lifestyle for 30 years. This is where the 4% rule comes from.

What is the 4% rule?

4% says you can survive more than 30 years if you withdraw 4% of your original portfolio each year. This is a rule of thumb, as it depends on your portfolio and how long you have to maintain your lifestyle.

What are the disadvantages of studying Trinity?

This study only covers the period up to 30 years after retirement. Thirty years is not enough time for early retirees to make their plans. Moreover, it is now 20 years old and the results need to be updated.


Trinity’s study is an excellent research paper with many wonderful results. But many people take it out of context. And many people think that this study is the Holy Grail or the Bible. But it’s only a research paper!

As we have seen, there are many misconceptions in this article. And I think it’s very important to get things back on track.

More importantly, the study never looked at early retirement. This was a standard cost-recovery pension until age 30.

It’s also not about keeping the money forever. It’s all about the likelihood (only the probability!) of maintenance over time.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not good research! On the contrary, the study of the Trinityis fascinating. And the 4% rule can really be called an excellent withdrawal rate that can support your portfolio for at least 30 years, if not longer. And we can use this research as inspiration for early retirement!

If you want to know more about this study, I invite you to read the article. It’s really interesting. And to learn more, you should read the results of my updated study on Trinity.

I’ve talked about financial independence many times on this blog. If you want to know more, you can read the compelling reasons to become financially independent.

Are you familiar with the Trinity Study? What do you think of this study?

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Sir, I want to thank you for your support. Poor Swiss is the author of In 2017, he realized he was caught up in lifestyle inflation. He decided to reduce his expenses and increase his income. This blog tells his story and his conclusions. In 2019, he set aside more than 50% of his income. His goal is to become financially independent. Here you can send a message to Mr. Send Bad Swiss.An article published in the latest issue of Nature Medicine states that when it comes to certain brain conditions, a new drug created in the form of a nanoparticle is superior to existing drugs in the same class.. Read more about holy trinity study and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 4 Trinity Study rule?

The 4 Trinity Study rule is a guideline for how to study the Bible. It states that you should read through the Bible in four sections: Old Testament, New Testament, Gospels, and Acts.

What were the goals of the Trinity study?

The goals of the Trinity study were to determine whether or not there is a relationship between the number of children in a family and the amount of time they spend with their parents.

What is the 4% rule in investing?

The 4% rule is a guideline for investing in stocks. It states that an investor should never invest more than 4% of their portfolio in any one stock.

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