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4% works out for retirement, with the expectation that you will eventually die and no longer need the income. The assumption there is that if the market underperforms for the next 35 years in a row, you run out of money just after you die.

An immortal, such as a corporation, has to use a safer number, such as 3%, or 2.5% for operations and 0.5% in fees for the fiduciary management. So the permanent endowment needs to be 40x annual operating costs, and the fiduciary needs to grow it by 3% better than (price) inflation per year. That's relatively easy to do when most of the principal won't be touched within the next 30 years: buy all the publicly-traded stocks that have historically paid regular dividends, and reinvest whatever isn't paid out. On a long enough time scale, that's probably 7% better than inflation.

So the fiduciary could possibly be replaced by a robot that only needs 0.05% annually for maintenance, and then you'd only need to endow 34x annual operating costs to run forever.






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