Four Percent Rule

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DEFINITION of 'Four Percent Rule'

A rule of thumb used to determine the amount of funds to withdraw from a retirement account each year. The four percent rule seeks to provide a steady stream of funds to the retiree, while also keeping an account balance that will allow funds to be withdrawn for a number of years. The 4% rate is considered to be a "safe" rate, with the withdrawals consisting primarily of interest and dividends. The withdraw rate is kept constant, though it can be increased to keep pace with inflation.

BREAKING DOWN 'Four Percent Rule'

The four percent rule helps financial planners and retirees set a portfolio's withdrawal rate. Life expectancy plays and important role in determining if this rate is going to be sustainable, as retirees who live longer will need their portfolios to last a longer period of time and medical costs and other expenses can increase as the retiree ages.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What does a sample plan using the 4% retirement rule look like?

    The 4% retirement rule is often used by financial planners to set the amount that a retiree can withdraw annually from an ... Read Full Answer >>
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    Your spousal Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your total household income for the year. About one-third ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Are spousal Social Security benefits retroactive?

    Spousal Social Security benefits are retroactive. These benefits are quite complicated, and anyone in this type of situation ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why are IRA, Roth IRAs and 401(k) contributions limited?

    Contributions to IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k) and other retirement savings plans are limited by the IRS to prevent the very wealthy ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do you calculate penalties on an IRA or Roth IRA early withdrawal?

    With a few exceptions, early withdrawals from traditional or Roth IRAs generally incur a tax penalty equal to 10% of the ... Read Full Answer >>
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    The main responsibility of the U.S. Social Security Administration, or SSA, is overseeing the country's Social Security program. ... Read Full Answer >>

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