Featured Articles

The Difference Between ‘Safe’ and ‘Optimal’ Withdrawal Rates for Retirement Spending

Distinguishing between “safe” withdrawal rates and “optimal” withdrawal rates is an essential piece of the retirement spending conversation.

Taking Portfolio Spending Into the Real World for Retirees

There has been too much emphasis on the portfolio and spending conservatively to keep failure rates low. This is not the whole story for retirement income. Certain circumstances, which we will explore, may allow retirees to accept a higher probability of “failure,” and spend more aggressively from their investment portfolio.

How Should Your Asset Allocation Look in Retirement?

Asset allocations come in many shapes and sizes, but they’re never more important than when you enter retirement.

The Possibilities of Broader Diversification in Retirement

Often, retirees are limited to accepting whatever a researcher assumes about market returns in order to obtain guidance about sustainable spending rates. I proposed a general framework for determining a safe withdrawal rate for a given retirement duration, acceptable failure probability, asset allocation, and capital market expectations.


Wade D. Pfau, PhD, CFA, RICP® is the founder of Retirement Researcher, an educational resource for individuals and financial advisors on topics related to retirement income planning. He is a co-founder of the Retirement Income Style Awareness tool and a co-host of the Retire with Style podcast. He also serves as a principal and the director of retirement research for McLean Asset Management. He also serves as a Research Fellow with the Alliance for Lifetime Income and Retirement Income Institute. He is a professor of practice at the American College of Financial Services and past director of the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation program.

He holds a doctorate in economics from Princeton University and has published more than sixty research articles in a wide variety of academic and practitioner journals. His research has been discussed in outlets including the print editions of the Economist, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Kiplinger’s, and Money magazine.

Wade is a past selectee for the InvestmentNews Power 20 in 2013 and inaugural 40 Under 40 in 2014, the Investment Advisor 35 list for 2015 and 25 list for 2014, and Financial Planning magazine’s Influencer Awards. In 2016, he was chosen as one of the Icons and Innovators by InvestmentNews. He is a two-time winner of the Journal of Financial Planning Montgomery-Warschauer Editor’s Award, a two-time winner of the Academic Thought Leadership Award from the Retirement Income Industry Association, and a Best Paper Award winner in the Retirement category from the Academy of Financial Services. Wade served for four years as a coeditor of the Journal of Personal Finance.

Wade has contributed to Forbes, Advisor Perspectives, and as an Expert Panelist for the Wall Street Journal. He has spoken at the national conferences of organizations such as the CFA Institute, the CFP Board, the FPA, NAPFA, and the Academy of Financial Services.

He is also the author of four books in the Retirement Researcher’s Guide Series.

The Retirement Researcher's Guide Series

Retirement Planning Guidebook (2nd Ed.)

A deep dive into all the important decisions needed for a comprehensive retirement plan.

Reverse Mortgages (3rd Ed.)

A deep dive on reverse mortgages and different roles they can play in a retirement plan.

Safety-First Retirement Planning

A deeper exploration of strategies for those with income protection and risk wrap styles.

How Much Can I Spend in Retirement?

A deeper exploration of strategies for those with total return and time segmentation styles.

My research has been discussed in outlets including the print editions of:

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