Comprehensive Financial Solutions, Inc.

440-343-4223

Retirement Read Time: 3 min

Systematic Withdrawals in Retirement

Many of us grew up with the concept that making regular, periodic contributions to our retirement account was a sound investment strategy. The idea was that, in a fluctuating market, regularly investing a set amount would enable an individual to buy more shares when prices were low and fewer shares when prices were high.1

Does this mean that taking regular, periodic withdrawals during retirement makes similar good sense?

Actually, it can be quite problematic.

Systematic withdrawals do the precise opposite of systematic investments by selling fewer shares when the price is high and more shares when the price is low. This, in effect, reduces the number of shares that may be able to participate in any subsequent market recovery.

Here's an example.

In the accumulation phase, if a portfolio falls by 25%, it will require approximately a 33% return to get back to its pre-decline value.²

In the distribution phase, if you withdraw 5% of your portfolio for income and suffer the same 25% market decline, you would need to see a 43% market rebound to get back to pre-decline value.²

Sequence of Returns

In the accumulation phase, investors tend to focus on average annual rates of return and less on the sequence of the returns. If you're a buy-and-hold investor, ignoring short-term fluctuations may be a sound long-term approach.

If you are in retirement, however, you absolutely care about the sequence of the annual returns.

For instance, comparable portfolios might deliver the same average annual return over a 20- or 30-year period, but they could have radically different outcomes in terms of account balance and income production. Generally speaking, negative returns in the early years of your retirement can potentially reduce how long your assets can be expected to last.

American writer H.L. Mencken once remarked that "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Anticipating a lifetime of withdrawals from a defined asset pool over an indefinite period of time is a complex challenge for which there is no simple solution. Pursuing this challenge can require creative approaches and persistent vigilance.

1. Dollar-cost averaging does not protect against a loss in a declining market or guarantee a profit in a rising market. Dollar-cost averaging is the process of investing a fixed amount of money in an investment vehicle at regular intervals, usually monthly, for an extended period of time regardless of price. Investors should evaluate their financial ability to continue making purchases through periods of declining and rising prices. The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost.
2. This is a hypothetical example used for illustrative purposes only. It is not representative of any specific investment or combination of investments.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Share |
 

Related Content

The Cost of Procrastination

The Cost of Procrastination

Don't let procrastination keep you from pursuing your financial dreams and goals.

Tying the Knot

Tying the Knot

With the right planning, you can build confidence in the life you’re building together.

Does Your Portfolio Fit Your Retirement Lifestyle?

Does Your Portfolio Fit Your Retirement Lifestyle?

Lifestyle considerations in creating your retirement portfolio.

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Immediate vs. Deferred Annuities

Looking forward to retirement? It's critical to understand the difference between immediate and deferred annuities.

The 12 Steps to Living Confidently: Retire With Confidence

There are good ways to retire and bad ways to retire. Retire the right way by better understanding Social Security.

When to Self-Insure

Choosing to bear the financial burden of an adverse event is called self-insuring. Do you know what that entails?

View all articles

Potential Income from an IRA

Estimate your monthly and annual income from various IRA types.

What Is My Risk Tolerance?

This questionnaire will help determine your tolerance for investment risk.

Federal Income Tax

Use this calculator to estimate your income tax liability along with average and marginal tax rates.

View all calculators

Long-Term-Care Protection Strategies

The chances of needing long-term care, its cost, and strategies for covering that cost.

Protecting Those Who Matter Most

The importance of life insurance, how it works, and how much coverage you need.

Managing Your Lifestyle

Using smart management to get more of what you want and free up assets to invest.

View all presentations

Video: The Independence of Financial and Emotional

Greater financial and emotional confidence brings greater independence. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Encore Careers: Push Your Boundaries

Ready for retirement? Find out why many are considering encore careers and push your boundaries into something more, here.

The Other Sure Thing

Though we don’t like to think about it, all of us will make an exit sometime. Are you prepared?

View all videos