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What is the Safe Withdrawal Rate in Retirement?

They don’t call it the golden years for nothing! Retirement can be one of the most rewarding seasons of life—especially if you’ve prepared for it. It’s the time of life that you get to focus on the things that truly matter to you like family, traveling, volunteering, or even starting a new venture. But in order to make your retirement dollars last through your golden years, it’s important to implement a retirement withdrawal rate. Today, we’re diving into our favorite retirement withdrawal strategies that will help you keep your nest egg intact for as long as you need it.

What Is The Safe Withdrawal Rate?

The safe withdrawal rate is a retirement withdrawal strategy that allows you to withdraw enough of your nest egg without depleting it too quickly. The goal is to withdraw enough money to help you live comfortably each month to keep up with expenses, groceries, bills, and entertainment, with inflation in mind. Taking too much each month could mean draining your retirement savings too quickly and not having what you need down the road. And not taking enough could mean that you’re struggling to make ends meet in the present. 

The 4% Rule in Retirement

You may have heard about the 4% rule in retirement. This rule refers to the retirement withdrawal rate of 4% found by the Trinity Study in 1998.1 This study found that a 4% withdrawal rate (adjusted for inflation each year) would get a retiree through a 30-year retirement. But there’s more to the story than just how much you withdraw that keeps your nest egg from draining too quickly. 

What influences the safe withdrawal rate?

Your safe withdrawal rate is influenced by many things—all dependent upon your retirement strategy and savings. But there are four main factors we look at to determine the best rate for you and your retirement strategy. 

1. Portfolio Allocation

Asset allocation is an important part of a successful retirement plan. Your portfolio allocation is determined by your assets and how much risk you’ve decided to take in your investments. 

2. Retirement Duration

Knowing how long you want your retirement to be is a huge factor in determining the right retirement withdrawal rate for you. Your rate will change depending on the duration of your retirement. If you want a 30-year retirement, that’s great! Or maybe you want to retire early and shoot for a 40-year retirement. Either way, your rate will change depending on your personal goals.

3. Spending Needs, Health, And Lifestyle

Budgeting is a huge factor in retirement planning. If you know your spending needs probably won’t change too much from your day-to-day in your current season, you’ll have a good idea of what to look for. You also need to factor in your travel goals, health and wellness, late retirement care plans, and other large expenses like a mortgage. 

4. Market Conditions

This is a big one. No one can truly predict the exact state of the economy, the rate of inflation, or the cost of living in advance. But it is something you can factor in. Your financial advisor is well-versed in retirement planning with market conditions in mind. 

Determining the Best Retirement Withdrawal Rate For You

The 4% Rule is often just a starting point when it comes to retirement withdrawal strategies—and one that we often love to start with as well. But just like no two retirement plans are alike, the same goes for your withdrawal rate. This is why working with a financial advisor is so important. Your advisor can help you plan the retirement of your dreams, determine the best withdrawal rate for you based on your own personalized factors, and help you feel confident in your golden years. 

If you don’t have a financial advisor, we’d love to work with you. Reach out to a SageSpring Wealth Partner in your area today. 

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.