CHICAGO – How much should clients spend down in their portfolios in retirement? There was a time when the 4% rule was widely accepted, which means the rule of thumb that $4,000 could be spent annually for each $100,000 in a portfolio. That $4,000 would be increased annually to match inflation.

As I see it – and speaking optimistically – 3.5% may be the most clients can spend safely, presuming a portfolio of about half stocks and half bonds. That's because bonds yields are so low and many expect equity returns below historic levels.

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