When it comes to retirement planning, the key question is how much the client can safely spend out of his or her portfolio during the golden years. The rule of thumb is that 4% is a safe withdrawal rate. However, given that many bond yields are well below 4% -- and retirees tend to invest heavily in bonds -- the appropriateness of this rule has been called into question. Earlier this week, we asked professional investors in the U.S. if the "4% rule" was still valid. A majority (57.57%) of the 984 respondents said no. This is not altogether surprising, given where interest rates are and the fact that many Baby Boomers fear running out of money. In the U.S., Morningstar recently weighed in on this issue, as have a number of investment bloggers. At the CFA Institute Wealth Management 2013 conference, Michael E. Kitces discussed whether safe withdrawal rates are still relevant in today's low-return environment. -- Lauren Foster, Content Director, CFA Institute

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