Faculty Publications


Retirement: The sequence of returns

Document Type


Publication Date



William Bengen's seminal study in the October 1994 Journal of Financial Planning,“Determining Withdrawal Rates Using Historical Data,” helped usher in the modern area of retirement withdrawal rate research by codifying the importance of sequence of returns risk. The problem he set up is simple: a new retiree makes plans for withdrawing an inflation-adjusted amount from their savings at the end of each year for a 30-year retirement period. What is the highest withdrawal amount as a percentage of retirement date assets that with inflation adjustments will be sustainable for the full 30 years?