The Safe Withdrawal Rate: Evidence from a Broad Sample of Developed Markets

33 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2022

See all articles by Aizhan Anarkulova

Aizhan Anarkulova

University of Arizona, Eller College of Management, Department of Finance, Students

Scott Cederburg

University of Arizona - Department of Finance

Michael S. O'Doherty

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Finance

Richard W. Sias

University of Arizona - Department of Finance

Date Written: September 22, 2022

Abstract

We use a comprehensive new dataset of asset-class returns in 38 developed countries to examine a popular class of retirement spending rules that prescribe annual withdrawals as a constant percentage of the retirement account balance. A 65-year-old couple willing to bear a 5% chance of financial ruin can withdraw just 2.26% per year, a rate materially lower than conventional advice (e.g., the 4% rule). Our estimates of failure rates under conventional withdrawal policies have important implications for individuals (e.g., savings rates, retirement timing, and retirement consumption), public policy (e.g., participation rates in means-tested programs), and society (e.g., elderly poverty rates).

Keywords: Retirement, safe withdrawal rate, survivor bias, easy data bias, financial ruin

JEL Classification: C15, D31, G10, G11, G12, G15, G17, G51, N20

Suggested Citation

Anarkulova, Aizhan and Cederburg, Scott and O'Doherty, Michael S. and Sias, Richard W., The Safe Withdrawal Rate: Evidence from a Broad Sample of Developed Markets (September 22, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4227132 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4227132

Aizhan Anarkulova

University of Arizona, Eller College of Management, Department of Finance, Students ( email )

McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tuscon, AZ 85721
United States

Scott Cederburg (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - Department of Finance ( email )

McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States

Michael S. O'Doherty

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Finance ( email )

Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business
401 Cornell Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States

Richard W. Sias

University of Arizona - Department of Finance ( email )

McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States

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