William Bengen has been named the winner of the 2014 Robert J. Underwood Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

The annual award recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of the practice of fee-only financial planning and advising. The significance is measured by the positive impact this individual has had on practitioners, consumers or the profession as a whole, according to Napfa.

Bengen is most well-known as the creator of the so-called 4.5% rule, about which he has written in the Journal of Financial Planning, and subsequently in Financial Advisor as well. His work in the area of retirement funding and his research on the sustainability of withdrawals from stock and bond portfolios has won widespread acceptance as a general rule of thumb for advisors and pre-retirees contemplating retirement to consider when they start seriously planning for leaving the work force, before factoring their individual circumstances into account.

Bengen, CFP, and an independent, fee-only advisor based in El Cajon, Calif., has been a financial advisor since 1988. He has served Napfa as an author, conference speaker and a regional board member. He published several papers on the topic, and authored a book entitled Conserving Client Portfolios During Retirement.

“We’re pleased to recognize an outstanding member who embodies the spirit and intent of this award,” said Geoffrey Brown, Napfa CEO. “Bill’s focus on solo practitioners and his willingness to help transfer knowledge to his peers has been a huge benefit for all Napfa members.”