Weekend Reading: Deconstructing the Complexities of Decumulation

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
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Weekend Reading

If you’re having trouble grappling with the thought of spending your lifelong savings in retirement, you’re not alone. It might have something to do with the amount of focus we often put on saving, while spending (the decumulation phase) takes the back seat. Read the article from Financial Advisor below.


Replacing your paycheck: The transition from saving to spending in retirement can feel foreign because it means changing the way you view your retirement nest egg in its entirety. It’s no longer a primary means to grow your wealth, but a vehicle for paycheck replacement in providing ongoing, predictable income.

Behavioral finance: Another component of navigating a successful decumulation phase is understanding the role behavioral finance plays in your decision-making process toward spending. This article references a survey focused on wealthy investors at or near retirement, in which 88 percent said they were above-average investors. This not only puts these investors at risk of overconfidence, but also explains why 55 percent of investors in the study also had an unrealistic plan for withdrawing money from savings. Additionally, one in three respondents showed they are susceptible to loss-aversion bias, meaning they focus more on avoiding loss than achieving gain, which could make spending from a nest egg feel like a loss as well.

More than numbers: Some leading research on retirement explains that the biggest risk to your retirement is not being able to mentally make the shift from accumulation to decumulation, and adjusting your strategy to fit current circumstances. It isn’t easy, but you most likely saved for all these years so you could enjoy that money, not so you could pass it on.