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Pension Income Drawdown Calculator
Work out how much you can afford to take from your pension at retirement. We’ve programmed UK market data from the last 120 years, which includes booms, bust, World wars, UK and global stock market crashes, pretty much every market condition you could imagine. You can test how your pension pot and proposed retirement income would fare under these conditions.
Tell our calculator:
- how big your pension pot is
- how much you want to take in retirement income every year and
- how long you’d like to continue doing this for
and it will tell you how likely it is that your pension pot will last.
User Guide for our Pension Drawdown Calculator
Your Retirement Plan Choices
1. Length of Retirement
How long do you expect to live after you retire? Age 100? Age 85? To be conservative, enter a higher value. Pressure test your pension pot against different lengths of retirement. So if you’re planning an early retirement at 55, you might want to test your pension pot for 30 years and again for 40 years, if you have a family history of living beyond 90 you may even want to stress test 50 years, obviously, if you don’t plan to retire until 65 or beyond, you’ll probably find 40 years is an adequate length of retirement to stress test. You can also use our life expectancy calculator as a guide.
2. Value of Pension at Retirement
If you know how much your pension pot is going to be worth at your retirement age you can add it here. If you’re not sure you can use our Retirement Savings Calculator to work out the value of your pension at retirement.
3. Annual Withdrawal / Income
How much you plan to withdraw in the first year (this amount does not include State Pension, other pensions, or other income sources, just the amount you plan to take out of your nest egg each year). During the simulations, the withdrawal amount is adjusted for inflation.
Your Annual Withdrawal or Income can be expressed as an amount or a percentage of your pension pot. This is a gross figure, it does not take into account any tax that you will need to pay on your pension income.
Our drawdown pension calculator will also provide you with a graph that shows how long your pension will last at this withdrawal rate.
4. Withdrawal Percent
The percent of your nest egg you plan to withdraw in the first year to live on, see Withdrawal Amount notes above.
Your Portfolio Choices
How you choose to invest your pension pot will affect how your investments perform. High-risk investments might offer the chance of higher returns but they also come with the danger of higher volatility and potentially higher losses. This tool gives you the chance to see how different investment decisions would have played out in numerous different market conditions. This is a great way to see how you really feel about risk and what kind or risk vs returns you might be comfortable with.
We’ve given you the option of stress testing 6 different types of ‘ready-made’ investment strategies
- Growth – higher risk investment funds – 85% stocks & 15% bonds
- Balanced – medium risk investment funds – 55% stocks & 45% bonds
- Cautious – lower risk investment funds – 35% stocks & 65% bonds
- All stocks – based on UK Equity Index and FTSE all-shares total return
- All bonds – based on Sterling UK Government bonds
- All cash – using Bank of England historical interest rates
If you have a preference for how you like to split your investments between stocks, bonds and cash, you can enter custom figures here.
How You Can Use Our Pension Income Drawdown Calculator
If you’re trying to work out how much you can afford to take from your pension in retirement, our drawdown calculator is a handy tool to get you started. It assumes that your pension pot remains invested throughout your retirement and that dividends are reinvested. Whereas other drawdown calculators tend to use a standard annual inflation rate, ours will test the value of your invested pension pot against real market conditions.
You can adjust the following variables:
- Retirement length
- Pension pot size
- Income amount
- Investment strategy
Some insights into the results this tool unearths:
- You may be surprised to find that an “All Stock” portfolio is risky, but often not as risky in the long run as an “All Cash” portfolio. Why is this? Historically speaking, compared to cash, stocks have done a much better job of a) growing and b) keeping up with inflation.
- Looking at the simulation high and low numbers (which can be mind-bogglingly wide), luck plays a role in the individual’s outcome. The year in which you retire could make a huge difference, but you won’t know until it is too late. For example, the simulations show that people who retired in 1975 were in great shape because of the economic booms in the 80s and 90s, but the people who retired in the mid-’60s didn’t live long enough to recoup their early losses.
- Portfolios that blend stocks and bonds do a good job of bringing up the low end of the simulation, based on the historical data anyway. Diversification reduces risk but also reduces upside.
- Each simulation sticks to the parameters you select. It always rebalances every year and withdraws the right amount. In reality, life happens, emergencies happen, and investors panic and sell in bad times. This calculator is purely for illustrative purposes only.
How This Retirement Drawdown Calculator Can Help You
This calculator is NOT a Monte-Carlo simulator in that it does not generate any fake or random data. Instead, this calculator uses historical data and backtests against it. Essentially it replays what happened in each of the years in the dataset given the inputs and then summarizes the results.
For a 30 year retirement period, this calculator will run a simulation from 1928 to 1958, then it will run a simulation from 1929 to 1959, then from 1930 to 1960, and so on. In simulations that go beyond the present year, it will wrap back to 1928 and count up from there. In this sense, the effect of the great depression is factored in for early and late starting years.
Each individual simulation computes returns by stepping through the years (eg 1928, 1929, … 1958) and performs the following each year:
- Calculates the change in value in the portfolio.
- Adjusts the annual withdraw amount for inflation based on the CPI (consumer price index) for that year.
- Updates the portfolio balance by adding the change in value and subtracting the withdrawal amount.
- Rebalances the portfolio.
Our drawdown calculator will help you understand the likelihood that your pension pot will last you through retirement. Remember that this calculator is based on historical UK market data and that past performance is not an indicator of future returns. What it offers is a chance for you to stress test your retirement plans against numerous market conditions.
You can see how different retirement scenarios would affect your pension:
- How a longer or shorter retirement might affect your income
- How a larger pension pot might last or allow you to take a higher retirement income
- How more or less income might impact how long your pension pot will last
- How your investment choices could affect the value of your pension pot over time
How Much Will You Need to Retire?
Planning your expenses in retirement can be a daunting task, especially if you’re planning years ahead, so we’ve created the world’s easiest retirement calculator to help you work out how much you’ll need. We also cover 3 simple ways to work out how much you need in retirement in our cost of retirement blog.
We’ve also compiled some industry estimates for what you’ll need in retirement here>>
How Much Should You Save for Early Retirement?
Ultimately, tools like these are not detailed enough to base your retirement plans on, although they are a good place to start.
How much you need to save is relative to the amount of income you want in retirement, what age you plan to retire at, how much you can afford to save (and for how long) as well as your investment choices and risk profile.
We recommend that you talk to a financial adviser who can help you build a retirement plan based on your unique circumstances and goals.
Accessing your Pension for Early Retirement
With changes to the pension rules brought in in 2015, you can now access your pension from 55.
Investment Success Models – Using Drawdown Models
This calculator is based loosely on the calculations used in the “Trinity Study” a nickname the article “Retirement Spending: Choosing a Sustainable Withdrawal Rate”. Written by three professors of finance at Trinity University and published in the 1998 Journal of the American Association of Individual Investors.
The study looked at portfolio success rates over time and if you’ve ever heard of the ‘safe withdrawal rate’ – this is where it came from. The study found that 95% of the models they ran succeeded over a 30 year with a withdrawal rate of 4%.
The famous Trinity Study suggests a 3-4% withdraw rate is a good place to be: “If history is any guide for the future, then withdrawal rates of 3% and 4% are extremely unlikely to exhaust any portfolio of stocks and bonds…”. Keep in mind, this calculator and the Trinity Study rely on backtesting, which means historical data is analyzed for a ‘best fit’. Yesterday’s best fit may turn out to be a very poor fit in the future. Nobody really knows for sure what will happen next. In general terms, a lower withdraw rate means the nest egg with last longer.
Notes on Inflation:
The numbers this calculator outputs are not inflation adjusted, they are nominal values. The numbers don’t translate to actual purchasing power in the starting year of the simulation. However, this calculator does adjust the withdraw amount by the CPI each year of the simulation.
Income withdrawal % – finding your Safe Withdrawal amount
It’s important to find a sustainable level of income in retirement. Take too much and you run the risk of running out too soon, take too little and you run the risk of not getting to enjoy the retirement lifestyle you’ve dreamed of. It’s about finding a Safe Withdrawal Rate.
Knowing what Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR) you’d like to use in retirement also informs how much you need to save during your working years. If you want an SWR of 4%, you need to save more than if you want an SWR of 3%. The rate you choose affects how aggressively you need to save and how long you need to work.
Most drawdown calculators use US market data, ours uses UK data.
Pension Drawdown Calculator Assumptions
This calculator does not account for investments fees. The income amount is gross. You will need to adjust for taxes. This calculator does not take into account any State Pension you may receive. Cash figures are based on the Bank of England base rate – interest added annually using end of year interest rate.
Bonds figures 1900 -2014: Barclays Equity Gilt Study 2016 using the Gilt index, the index has been constructed to represent a portfolio of 15-year par yielding gilts. In this study, total returns are calculated assuming income is reinvested at the end of the year. Bonds from 2015: iShares Core UK Gilts UCITS ETF, this Fund seeks to track the performance of an index composed of Sterling denominated UK government bonds, yield reinvested into total return. The total expense ratio of this fund has not been included to reflect the fact that an investor holding a gilt directly would not pay this charge.
Stocks from 1900 – 2015: Barclays Equity Gilt Study 2016 using UK Stocks from 1900 – 2015, in this study, total returns are calculated assuming income is reinvested at the end of the year. After 1985 we have used FTSE All-Shares total return See: http://www.swanlowpark.co.uk/ftseannual
Cost of living index uses Barclay’s Equity Gilt Study 2016, UK Cost of Living Index from 1900 -> 2014. For 2015 and beyond it uses http://www.swanlowpark.co.uk/retail-price-index
Again, this calculator uses backtesting. Past performance does not guarantee nor indicate future results.
HOW AN IFA CAN HELP YOU
An Independent Financial Adviser can help guide you through life’s major decisions in a number of areas
SIPPs, Flexible Drawdown, Tax-Free Lump Sum, let our experts talk you through your options at retirement and help you meet your goals
Wealth Management & Investments
Make your money work harder for you. Invest tax-efficiently and spread your risk effectively. Our investment experts can help you build a long-term investment plan.
Whether you’re consolidating for ease, preparing for retirement or trying to reach your financial goals through a Pension Transfer, we can help. We’re specialists in this field with over 15 years of expert experience, so you’ll be in safe hands.
This pension drawdown calculator is provided for general information purposes only. It is a guide and does not reflect the actual amount that you will need in retirement.
Any information contained within this website should not be deemed to constitute financial advice, and should not be relied upon as the basis for a decision to enter into a transaction, or as the basis for any financial or investment decision. It is provided for general information and it is vital (and in most cases a regulatory requirement) that you contact a Financial Adviser for tailored professional advice in regard to pension and retirement planning.
- No individual or company should act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of their particular situation. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of any articles.
- If you are a member of a pension scheme with safeguarded benefits, it is likely it would be in your best interests to retain the safeguarded benefits.
- Make sure you understand all the risks before investing.
- The value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise and you may not get back your original investment. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.