In retirement, you can probably draw more in a high interest-rate environment, where you can find relatively secure income-generating investments, like some corporate or government bonds.
"The long-term capital draw from a properly allocated portfolio is 4 percent to 6 percent," said David Edwards, president of New York City-based Heron Financial Group. "We're going to use a 5 percent draw rate until interest rates go up."
After you determine how much you can draw and still have enough to last for your lifetime, the question is how to draw from your accounts in a way that maximizes your Social Security payments and minimizes your taxes.
Many people get focused on the latter in retirement. Avoiding taxes is important, but remember to balance that need against your desire to enjoy your retired life.
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Experts caution that every individual's case is different—for instance, all of your decisions could be radically different if you or your spouse has a glum health prognosis, a disabled child or an all-consuming yen to travel around the world. "There's no real equation for doing it," said Brian Parker, managing director and co-founder of Los Angeles-based EP Wealth Advisors.
Here are five guidelines for tapping your accounts.