UKOct 31 2016

Pre-retirees believe 7% withdrawal rate is safe

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Pre-retirees believe 7% withdrawal rate is safe

Research from Retirement Advantage amongst pre-retirees suggests 7 per cent is the rate at which people think they can withdraw from a £100,000 pension each year.

This means people believe this is the right level to spend both capital and investment returns whilst not running out of money, according to the survey of 1,009 UK adults aged over 50 conducted by YouGov between 15 and 19 August 2016.

Industry thinking until recently suggested that 4 per cent was a safe withdrawal rate, whilst ensuring sufficient capital remained to fund a similar level of income through retirement.

But Morningstar research from May this year challenged this, based on both historical returns and forward projections, and suggested the rate should actually be closer to 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent. 

In October this year, the average amount withdrawn from a private pension in the third quarter of 2016 was £9,700, figures released by HM Revenue & Customs revealed.

This represented an almost 50 per cent drop since the second quarter of 2015, when the mean average mean withdrawal was £18,600.

According to Retirement Advantage, the research points to a wide range of views on what could be a sensible withdrawal strategy, ranging from £1,000 a year - 3 per cent of people - to £20,000  - 2 per cent of people.

Elsewhere, a third - 29 per cent - said they simply didn’t know.

Alongside this, there is little difference in view between ages, but the research does point to more optimism from women about the amount they can withdraw at £7,506 a year than men at £6,775.

Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at Retirement Advantage said as more people now choose drawdown over an annuity, a the shift of responsibility more to the individual to ensure they manage their retirement fund effectively.

He said: "Our research shows people are well wide of the mark when thinking about rates of withdrawal, and unless they receive financial advice, are running the risk of retirement ruin.

"I’m also concerned that people are as much at risk from reckless conservatism, not spending as much as they could, as they are the risk of ruin from running out of money.

"Managing your own money in retirement exposes you to the peaks and troughs of investment markets and the effects of pound cost ravaging, so this needs to be considered alongside how much money to take at any point in time."

He added with such a wide range of views on what people consider a safe rate of withdrawal, the best option is to review income needs and sustainability of taking that level of income every year.