Many retirees aren’t sure how to generate income from their retirement savings. Too often, retirees simply take money from the most easily accessible accounts without considering strategy or tax efficiency. In doing so, they are likely giving up a chunk of their hard earned savings to taxes.

As you withdraw money from your accounts to generate income in retirement, when and from where you take such withdrawals matters. Choosing the wrong withdrawal strategy may mean your portfolio won’t last as long and that you will pay more in taxes.

Our definition of a withdrawal strategy includes these elements:

It must be holistic – The plan must integrate all of your resources.

It must reach across accounts – A good strategy works across your asset types and accounts.

It must be tax aware – It must incorporate a detailed analysis of options.


The advisors and financial institutions the most people trust with their money don’t focus on tax-savvy plans because:

  • Most advisors and institutions focus on product sales and are paid commissions from transactions. They are typically trained to talk about a product or single account like an IRA or a 401(k).
  • Most advisors and financial institutions lack tax expertise. Have you read the disclosure at the bottom of your brokerage or bank statement? Firms typically state that they are not giving tax advice and suggest consultation with a “tax advisor.” Most firms do not include tax management and analysis. And those that do only look at taxes from a very high level, making generalized assumptions.

When creating your withdrawal strategy, we consider:

Risk Tolerance – Distinct stages of retirement warrant different levels of risk to maximize your assets.

Asset Allocation – Your asset allocation must be considered across all of your accounts, not on an account by account basis.

Asset Location – It’s important to consider where you locate different types of assets.

Tax Sequencing – It’s much more complicated than simply saving tax-deferred accounts for last.

Get Started Today

Call 866.762.PLAN, EXT. 23


Tim and May used the 4% Rule:

They simply withdraw 4% of their overall assets as directed by many sites. They are withdrawing from their tax-free accounts first.

Explore more case studies

Tim & May are fictional representations of actual retirees. The numbers involved in their case study are real.

Risk and Retirement

In retirement, a number of additional elements need to be considered and constantly monitored such as: your health and longevity assumptions, your willingness to supplement your plan by working part-time, the impacts of inflation, etc.

The Cost of Guaranteed Income

Guaranteed income and replacement of your current paycheck with income sound great. However, make sure you fully understand annuities and annuitization. We find many people are enticed by the product attributes, but do not fully understand the amount of money needed to generate income and the future loss of flexibility and liquidity.

After you have typed in some text, hit ENTER to start searching...

Get more, keep more of the retirement income you’ve worked so hard to save with Income Strategy.