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Can Sustainable Withdrawal Rates Be Enhanced by Trend Following?

34 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2017  

Andrew Clare

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School

James Seaton

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School

Peter N. Smith

University of York - Department of Economics and Related Studies; Australian National University (ANU) - Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA)

Steve Thomas

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School

Date Written: July 25, 2017

Abstract

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

Clare, Andrew and Seaton, James and Smith, Peter N. and Thomas, Steve, Can Sustainable Withdrawal Rates Be Enhanced by Trend Following? (July 25, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3019089

Andrew Clare

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School ( email )

106 Bunhill Row
London, EC1Y 8TZ
United Kingdom

James Seaton

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School ( email )

106 Bunhill Row
London, EC1Y 8TZ
United Kingdom

Peter Smith (Contact Author)

University of York - Department of Economics and Related Studies ( email )

Heslington
York 010 5DD
United Kingdom
+44 1904 433 765 (Phone)
+44 1904 433 759 (Fax)

Australian National University (ANU) - Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA) ( email )

ANU College of Business and Economics
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Stephen Thomas

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School ( email )

106 Bunhill Row
London, EC1Y 8TZ
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 20 7040 5271 (Phone)
+44 (0) 20 7040 8881 (Fax)

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