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The only way we know they are gone, is when they vanish from retailers shelves.
Announcing the imminent retirement of a set is almost unheard of. They did it for the UCS Falcon, but that maybe the only time they've done it.
At Brickset we get a data feed from LEGO on product availability (it's supposed to tell us when sets are no longer available); there appears to be an issue with it that we & LEGO are investigating. There are unfortunately quite a few examples recently where we've been given 'false negatives' for set availability.
I think if you predict it at least gives you a time frame espcially if like me you have to save up for it. Cause its not always accurate but generally it works for example the Star Wars Episode 3 sets came out 2005 and went 2007