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Seeking A Fixed Percentage Approach To Retirement Spending

The fixed percentage withdrawal strategy is the polar opposite of constant inflation-adjusted spending. Subsequent strategies we consider will strive to strike a balance between these two. This fixed percentage strategy calls for retirees to spend a constant percentage of the remaining portfolio balance in each year of retirement.

The Perks Of Being A Flexible Spender In Retirement

William Bengen’s 1994 article introduced the concept of the 4% rule for retirement withdrawals. He defined the sustainable spending rate as the percentage of retirement date assets which can be withdrawn, with this amount adjusted for inflation in subsequent years, such that the retirement portfolio is not depleted for at least thirty years.

What If Retirees Don’t Want To Run Out Of Money In 30 Years?

Traditional safe withdrawal rate literature regularly makes the assumption that retirees will choose a withdrawal rate that will leave precisely no wealth after the final withdrawal in the thirtieth year of retirement. This can leave them playing a game of chicken as their wealth plummets toward zero.

Improving Retirement Income Efficiency Using Reverse Mortgages

Maintaining higher fixed costs in retirement increases exposure to sequence risk by requiring a higher withdrawal rate from remaining assets. Drawing from a reverse mortgage has the potential to mitigate this aspect of sequence risk by reducing the need for portfolio withdrawals at inopportune times.

Sequence Risk vs. Investment Risk

A lot has already been written about the sequence of returns risk confronting retirees. But the full implications of sequence risk have not been completely internalized. Retirees become more vulnerable to investment volatility, because as they withdraw from their portfolio they may find themselves locking in investment losses. It’s the opposite effect from dollar cost averaging.

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