A systematic withdrawal plan is a financial plan that allows a shareholder to withdraw money from an existing mutual fund portfolio at predetermined intervals. The money withdrawn through a systematic withdrawal plan can be reinvested in another portfolio or used to pay for something else. Often, a systematic withdrawal plan is used to fund expenses during retirement. However, this type of plan may be used for other purposes as well.

With a systematic withdrawal plan, a fixed or variable amount is withdrawn at regular intervals. Withdrawals can be made on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual schedule. The holder of the plan may choose withdrawal intervals based on his or her commitments and needs.
Systematic withdrawal plans offer many benefits. For example, systematic withdrawal plans allow account holders to access their money exactly when they need it. This makes it easier for account holders to carry out their financial plans and meet their goals.
A systematic withdrawal plan allows the account holder a certain level of independence from market fluctuations. By making periodic withdrawals, account holders are able to enjoy average return values that often exceed average sale prices. In this way, systematic withdrawal plan holders are able to secure higher unit prices than those attainable by withdrawing everything at once.

Systematic withdrawal plans also offer tax advantages. With a systematic withdrawal plan, withdrawals are made from capital. As such, long-term gains are paid at a lower tax rate. Many individuals use systematic withdrawal plans as part of their tax-planning strategies in an effort to make the most of this lower rate of taxation.