The Importance of a Safe Withdrawal Rate

Now that tax season is behind us (thanks to the whole Lange staff for another great year), we are working on a newsletter that will direct you to some outstanding resources designed to help you with your financial planning. If you are not currently receiving our newsletter, sign up for the e-newsletter on

One area that we think deserves special attention, especially since most portfolios have dropped in value, is a review of the sustainable withdrawal rate during retirement.  A good plan is critical to ensure that you don’t outlive your money.

With that in mind, Jim invited Paul Merriman to be his guest on his radio show, The Lange Money Hour, on April 22nd.  Paul is the author of “Live It Up Without Outliving Your Money” and founder of Merriman, an investment advisory firm based in Seattle that manages over $1 billion in assets.

Both Jim and Paul agree that many variables come into play when trying to determine a safe withdrawal rate.  You have to consider the client’s portfolio, age, risk-tolerance, other sources of income and current market conditions.  An excellent article on the subject can be found on Paul’s website On the right hand side of the home page – under articles – click on ‘Retirement: When Your Portfolio Starts Paying You.’

Jim and Paul also discussed what they consider to be the number one mistake that most investors make.  Jim believes the number one investment mistake is letting your emotions guide you (instead of logic.)  Paul believes the biggest investment mistake is trusting in the wrong people.  For instance, many investors act on financial advice solely from their co-workers or relatives.  Paul says that you can’t even trust Wall Street – believe the academics instead – they have the research to back up their claims.

It was another show filled with great advice — thanks to Paul for taking the time to join us.  If you missed the show, look for the complete audio on the week of April 27th.