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Rekenthaler Report

The Uncertainty of Retirement Planning

Time can wreak havoc on even the best-laid plans.


From Z to A
My friend Javier Estrada, professor of finance at IESE Business School in Barcelona, sent me his latest working paper, "Retirement Planning: From Z to A." As suggested by its title, the article advocates that investors work backward. They should begin their plans upon entering the work force, by specifying their desired income during retirement. Once that is known, and an asset allocation is specified, the required contribution rate can be calculated.

This process is aspirational. That is, while Javier's model is fixed, providing investment returns, contribution amounts, and withdrawal rates with assurance, investors enjoy no such confidence. As young adults, they know neither what the financial markets will bring nor (yet) what income will meet their retirement needs. Their lives lie ahead of them.

John Rekenthaler does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.