Under the so-called 4% rule, a retiree can start by withdrawing 4% of accumulated savings, raise withdrawals to match inflation and, with certain assumptions (diversified portfolio, historic results for investments and inflation), be fairly confident the money will last for 30 years. The original research behind this approach dates back 20 years so it might be not surprising that advisors are evaluating alternatives.

“Recent studies indicate the 4% rule may have a high failure rate given today’s low interest rates,” says Ric Runestad, who heads a financial services firm in Fort Wayne, Ind. The possibility of repeated bear markets adds to the risk of this regimen, as inflation-expanded withdrawals could speed asset depletion.

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