Financial advisors relying on the classic "4 percent rule" for their clients' retirement income have a better than even chance of failure, according to newly published research.

Titled "The 4 Percent Rule is Not Safe in a Low-Yield World," the study by Michael Finke, Wade Pfau and David Blanchett argues that advisors make a grave mistake in basing their clients' retirement plans on historical returns that may be an anomaly.

Investment companies often include in their disclosures that "past returns do not guarantee future results," but to the study's co-author, Michael Finke, that's not just rhetoric.

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