Can Sustainable Withdrawal Rates Be Enhanced by Trend Following?
34 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2017 Last revised: 26 Mar 2018
Date Written: July 25, 2017
We examine the consequences of alternative popular investment strategies for the decumulation of funds invested for retirement through a defined contribution pension scheme. We examine in detail the viability of specific ‘safe’ withdrawal rates including the ‘4%-rule’ of Bengen (1994). We find two powerful conclusions; first that smoothing the returns on individual assets by simple trend following techniques is a potent tool to enhance withdrawal rates. Secondly, we show that while diversification across asset classes does lead to higher withdrawal rates than simple equity/bond portfolios, ’smoothing’ returns in itself is far more powerful a tool for raising withdrawal rates. in fact, smoothing the popular equity/bond portfolios (such as the 60/40 portfolio) is in itself an excellent and simple solution to constructing a retirement portfolio. Alternatively, trend following enables portfolios to contain more risky assets, and the greater upside they offer, for the same level of overall risk compared to standard portfolios.
Keywords: Sequence Risk, Perfect Withdrawal Rate, Decumulation, Trend Following
JEL Classification: G10, G11, G22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation