You could have systematically withdrawn twice as much in annual income as the CD, and your account value would still have been 83 percent higher than the CD's value. Even if you took triple the income of the CD, your account would still have ended nearly 50 percent higher than the CD.
Simply matching, doubling or tripling the CD's income, however, would have left you with inconsistent monthly and yearly amounts. To solve that problem, you could have arranged for a consistent monthly withdrawal, just as you get from Social Security or a pension.
If you took a 5 percent income stream, for example, you would have received double what the CD would have paid, and your ending value would still have been $220,680—or 121 percent more than what you started with.
Read MoreA battle-of-the-sexes financial plan
Of course, my illustration is hypothetical over a specific time period. Different periods and asset mixes would produce different results and, as always, past performance does not guarantee future results.
But you get the idea. I recommend the SWP as the best approach for generating the regular income you want/need to live on in retirement and sustaining it for your lifetime.
Ric Edelman's new book, "The Truth About Retirement Plans and IRAs," was published April 8 by Simon and Schuster.