I understand the data on average superiority of index mutual funds to managed funds while building retirement funds. How do these data apply to post retirement management of retirement funds when one is constantly withdrawing funds from the principal amount in retirement accounts rather than adding to retirement accounts? Also, in your recent column you discussed comparative data over 20-year periods. It seems that post-retirement comparative index versus managed fund data on something more like 5-year periods might be more useful. Thanks.

Terry Says:

I wasn’t making comparisons in that column — just stating a fact that “over the long run” (20 years) a broad cross-section of large company American stocks with dividends reinvested has been a winning strategy.  When it comes to withdrawal planning, an entirely new set of facts must be considered.  That’s when averages no longer matter.  Major fund companies (and most financial planners) use “monte carlo” analysis (no, not gambling — but the science of modeling multiple variables across time) to create an investment and withdrawal strategy designed to give you the best likelihood that your money will last as long as you do!  If you really want to delve into this, go on Amazon and get a copy of my book, “The Savage Number.”  But if you just want help designing and investment/withdrawal strategy that will help you reach your personal goals (and this is modeled around your desired goals), I highly recommend the retirement advisory services of T. Rowe Price (also Fidelity and Vanguard provide similar services).

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