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A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making for Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore.

Dec 1, 2022

Traditionally, people saving for retirement and financial advisors relied on the 4% rule when calculating how much to save for retirement and the associated income those savings would provide after retirement. What if you found out it does not work? Is there another option? Today, we offer you an alternative approach, which is the 2% rule for retirement spending. Before we delve into today’s main topic, we update listeners on the recent London meet-up, what to expect on upcoming shows, and who our special guest is to kick off the first episode of 2023. Then, we discuss today’s main topic and learn what the 2% rule is, how it compares to the 4% rule, and whether the safe percentage for retirement is actually higher. We unpack retirement spending through the lens of several empirical papers, historical data, and market comparisons. We also find out why the US market has always been able to bounce back from uncertainty and whether there is empirical data to support the 4% rule. We also talk about the many financial challenges and opportunities that young people face, the biggest mistake people make regarding retirement, the value of financial literacy, book reviews, and more!


Key Points From This Episode:


  • An update on the 22 in 22 Reading Challenge. (0:05:21)
  • Outline of today’s content and the main topic: the 2% rule for retirement spending. (0:06:27)
  • An overview of the “2% rule”, the motivation behind it, and how it was formulated. (0:08:17)
  • We discuss if the safe withdrawal rate for retirement savings is higher than 4%. (0:13:31)
  • The inspiration for the higher average realized rate of return on investment theory. (0:19:59)
  • Whether the past returns on US stocks will repeat in the future. (0:21:54)
  • Why the US stock market has been historically exceptional and resilient, and how other markets compare. (0:23:44)
  • The biggest limitation of the seminal work which helped established the 4% rule. (0:28:38)
  • How data gaps were dealt with in the paper by Scott Rieckens and results are discussed. (0:33:16)
  • Other aspects to consider regarding the research on retirement funds. (0:38:35)
  • The challenges and opportunities that young people face today. (0:42:24)
  • How financial literacy impacts investment opportunities, returns, and overall happiness. (0:46:59)
  • What are the potential solutions and reasons to be optimistic regarding the current financial market. (0:47:48)
  • Our usual episode review under a minute: episode 30 with Larry Swedroe. (0:52:31)
  • This week’s book review and choice architecture. (0:54:35)
  • We discuss the reviews and feedback received on a previous episode. (1:02:32)
  • Hear an update about our idea regarding CE credits and reviews about the show. (1:06:01)



Participate in our Community Discussion about this Episode:


Book From Today’s Episode:

The Elements of Choice: Why the Way We Decide Matters


Links From Today’s Episode:

Rational Reminder on iTunes —

Rational Reminder Website — 

Shop Merch —

Join the Community —

Follow us on Twitter —

Follow us on Instagram — @rationalreminder

Benjamin on Twitter —

Cameron on Twitter —

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'The financial resilience and financial well-being of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic' —

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'Financial Literacy Around the World' —

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'Measuring the Financial Sophistication of Household' —

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'Bitcoin Awareness, Ownership and Use: 2016–20'—

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'Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in the United States' —

'Financial Well-Being of the Millennial Generation' —