- Written by Christian Simmons
Christian Simmons is a writer for RetireGuide and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®). He covers Medicare and important retirement topics. Christian is a former winner of a Florida Society of News Editors journalism contest and has written professionally since 2016.Read More
- Edited ByLamia Chowdhury
Lamia Chowdhury is a financial content editor for RetireGuide and has over three years of marketing experience in the finance industry. She has written copy for both digital and print pieces ranging from blogs, radio scripts and search ads to billboards, brochures, mailers and more.Read More
- Published: January 25, 2023
- Updated: June 22, 2023
- 7 min read time
- This page features 5 Cited Research Articles
- Edited By
Once you’re gearing up to move on from your career into the next phase of your life, it’s common to wonder how long your retirement savings will last. Making sure you have enough for food, housing, home health care and more is a delicate balancing act. Luckily, there are different ways to make your savings last as long as possible.
This guide will go over all of these tips to ensure your retirement outlook is clear. First, we’ll cover the basics of our calculator to determine how long your retirement savings might last.
How To Use the Retirement Withdrawals Timeline Calculator
The retirement withdrawal timeline calculator has three input boxes for you to enter information:
- Money Saved: This is the starting value of your reserve fund or how much you’ve got saved right now.
- Monthly Distributions: This is how much money you plan to withdraw from your savings each month.
- Annual Return: This percentage is the rate of return on your investment or how much your fund increases each year.
Once you enter these three numbers, the calculator will do the rest of the work for you. Remember that this retirement calculator is an estimate, and many factors can affect the longevity of your savings and how much money you need for retirement.
If your spending habits change and you need to withdraw more money each month, or if a dip in the market causes your piggy bank to shrink, you might have to reevaluate your long-term plans.
Three Retirement Withdrawal Strategies To Make Your Nest Egg Last Longer
The future is unpredictable, and that’s just as true regarding retirement planning. You can’t predict if you or your spouse will need long-term care or whether you’ll live with a relative or opt for senior housing. However, there are a few ways to plan for longer-lasting retirement savings.
The calculator above takes a look at your current financial situation and estimates the time it will take for your retirement account to hit zero dollars. Still, if you’re willing to adjust your spending, you might be able to squeeze more time out of the funds you already have. Below, we’ll explore three different strategies for withdrawing from your retirement.
Income Floor Rule
The income floor rule is a relatively conservative way to ensure your savings last as long as possible. To stick to this rule, you need to make sure you have guaranteed income, like:
- Social Security
- Bond ladder
This guaranteed income should be at least enough to cover your necessary expenses like food and housing. This way, you can cover your most urgent expenses in case of an emergency, and you won’t have to worry about selling off stocks during an economic downturn. Your savings can then cover any discretionary purchases, like vacations.
Four Percent Rule
The four percent rule is a guideline for retirement withdrawals that draws from research by William Bengen in the 1990s. Bengen found by analyzing returns from stocks and bonds over a half-century that as long as your retirement savings are invested at least 50% in stocks, there’s a good chance you can withdraw four percent annually for at least 30 years, adjusted for inflation.
Just like the rule of 25, Bengen’s research took into account several market dips and crashes to determine a relatively safe rate of withdrawal. However, this rule isn’t as applicable if your savings are widely diversified or primarily invested in bonds.
Dynamic Withdrawal Rules
While the income floor rule and the four percent rule are both fairly straightforward, they’re by no means the only ways to make your nest egg last. To combat inflation, market shifts and other unforeseen circumstances, portfolio managers come up with dynamic withdrawal strategies that adjust based on time and other factors.
A dynamic strategy looks at your starting balance and gives you a withdrawal rate for your first year of retirement. Based on the market conditions that year, your withdrawal rate in subsequent years can either adjust or freeze:
- In market growth years, increase your withdrawal to adjust for inflation.
- In years when the market drops, freeze your withdrawals at the previous year’s rate or withdraw one to two percent less.
Dynamic withdrawal rules, also called dynamic spending strategies, vary based on the nature of your retirement portfolio, your life expectancy, your spending habits and more. Speaking with a qualified advisor can help you navigate your exact options if a dynamic strategy interests you.
Next Steps: Making Your Money Last a Lifetime
To make the most out of your retirement, you need to know how long your nest egg will last. Planning for a long and fulfilling retirement requires doing a little math to make sure you can financially cover your goals and dreams. This retirement withdrawals timeline calculator is designed to make it as easy as possible for you to look into your retirement future.
To meet that future head-on and make sure you have the Medicare coverage necessary to support a long and healthy lifestyle as you enjoy retirement, consult with a Medicare expert.
5 Cited Research Articles
- CFI Team. [2022, October 17]. Four Percent Rule. Retrieved from: https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/wealth-management/four-percent-rule/
- Berger, R. [2022, August 18]. What Is The 4% Rule For Retirement Withdrawals? Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/retirement/four-percent-rule-retirement/
- Rappaport, A. [2020, October 5]. Income Flooring: Is Annuitization the Right Strategy? Retrieved from: https://www.soa.org/globalassets/assets/files/resources/essays-monographs/redefining-goal-retirement/rappaport-income-flooring.pdf
- Berger, R. [2020, September 1]. Secure Your Retirement Income With Dynamic Spending Rules. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/retirement/dynamic-spending-rules/
- Milevsky, M. [2012, May 8]. The 7 Most Important Equations for Your Retirement: The Fascinating People and Ideas Behind Planning Your Retirement Income. Retrieved from: https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/the-7-most/9781118291535/07_chap01.html
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