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Does the 4% Rule Really Work?

Does the 4% Rule Really Work? EGSI Financial

During the saving years, your goal is to accumulate wealth so that you have the resources to achieve a comfortable retirement, but that is only half the battle. How you use your savings to cover your expenses is the key to living a secure retirement.   If you have done your research on different strategies that could provide you with the income, you may have heard of the 4% rule that is frequently used as a guideline to prevent a cash shortage in the latter years.

What is the 4% Rule?

The 4% Rule is a general rule of thumb that is meant to guide your decisions on how much you can, and should, withdraw from your retirement savings each year. The purpose of adopting the rule is to keep a steady income stream while maintaining an adequate overall account balance for future years. The withdrawals will consist primarily of interest and dividends on savings.  With this general financial guardrail, you may estimate how much you will need in savings to cover your costs and avoid running out of money.

Is the 4% Rule Realistic?

Experts are divided on whether the 4% withdrawal rate is the best option. Many personal finance experts say that 5% is a better rule for most people.  Yet, others caution that 3% may be safer in current interest-rate conditions.  The truth is that the 4% rule is simply not a comprehensive strategy.  Your percentage of withdrawal will likely depend on your unique financial situation and should be reviewed with the help of a written retirement plan by a professional to ensure you are making an educated decision.  It is possible that your retirement income need not come from a savings withdrawal at all!

Where Does the 4% Rule Fail?

The 4% Rule makes a lot of assumptions and is simply not designed to be an all-encompassing, actionable strategy for everyone to implement. It doesn’t factor in healthcare coverage, is not designed to avoid the 3 strikes of tax planning, and it doesn’t account for the location and liquidity of your wealth and savings.  It is suggested as a general guide to financial planning, but a more comprehensive and personalized plan should be considered before you reach your retirement age.

In conclusion, the 4% Rule may be used as a conversation starter with your financial advisor on how to turn your savings into income. There are many moving parts to a retirement plan that must be counted if your goal is to make the most of your savings.  A customized and comprehensive plan will protect you from outliving your retirement savings and give you peace of mind for many years to come.  If you would like to schedule an appointment for a health check-up on your retirement goals, call Edward Siddell at EGSI Financial at 614-526-4118. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.


[1] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/four-percent-rule.asp

Advisory services offered through EGSI Investment Management, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor with the State of Ohio.  Insurance services offered through EGSI Financial, Inc. Guarantees offered with insurance products are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing company.  Investing may involve risk and may result in the loss of principal. Ohio Insurance License # 619337. Please contact EGSI Investment Management if there are any changes in your financial situation or investment objectives, or if you wish to impose, add, or modify any reasonable restrictions to the management of your account, EGSI Investment Management Form ADV Part 2A&B is available for your review upon request.

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