The conventional view of sequence-of-return risk is that it’s something retirees face as they take ongoing distributions from a retirement portfolio, and requires caution in the early years of retirement.

Yet the reality is that sequence-of-return risk is equally relevant for accumulators in the years leading up to retirement, as well. The only difference is the problematic sequence is reversed – for retirees, the dangerous sequence is to get bad returns at the beginning (of retirement), while for accumulators it’s getting bad returns at the end (of the accumulation phase).

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