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Encore
A blog about living in and planning for retirement

Spending Plummets With Age (Except on Health Care)

When calculating the amount of money to set aside for retirement, financial advisers frequently recommend using the so-called 80% rule, which assumes you will need 80% of what you spent before retirement.

Now, a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) suggests that for most people, post-retirement spending actually tends to decline by even more.

“Household expenditure steadily declines with age,” says the study, which is based on data from the Health and Retirement Study.

Between ages 65 and 75, household spending declines by 19%,or just about the expected amount. But by age 85, median spending falls by 34%. And by age 95, people spend only half as much as they did at age 65. (In reaching this conclusion, the HRS followed the same people over an eight year period.)

The pattern of declining expenditures applies to outlays for the home, food, transportation, clothing, and entertainment, according to the study. One notable exception: Health-related expenses, which consume 9% of the average 50-to-64-year-old’s budget, versus 18% of that of an 85-year-old.

“This is not surprising, even if everyone in these age groups is covered by Medicare, since Medicare coverage is not comprehensive,” notes the report. Meanwhile, “declining health limits different activities and consumption of different goods, which strongly affects the decline in total expenditure.”

One caveat: Just because most people experience a steady decline in spending doesn’t mean that you will. Among a sample of 1094 people within the HRS study, 66.5% anticipated a drop in spending in retirement, versus 65.9% who actually experienced a decline. While only 8.9% expected to spend more in retirement, 15.8% actually saw their spending rise.

The bottom line? “This study’s results show that the median household in this group of retirees is doing well in retirement,” the report says. “But there are some demographic groups that are facing a difficult retirement,” it says, adding that “singles, blacks, and high school dropouts are outspending their resources.”

Moreover, the report notes that the outlook for the future may not be as bright. “The older population faces high uncertainty regarding health expenses. For example, long nursing-home stays or prolonged use of long-term-care services could deplete the accumulated wealth rapidly,” the study says.

Comments

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 5)

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    • This doesn’t seem to take into account that the very elderly may very likely need assistance with their daily needs, e.g. assisted living or nursing home care which will cause a very steep and sudden increase in expenditure!

    • what Judy explained I didnt even know that a mom can make $6581 in four weeks on the internet. did you see this web link D(Click on menu Home more information) http://goo.gl/mDFhj

    • Did you miss the boat on a free obama phone with airtime, free food,food stamps card, free medical, free housing, no income taxes and a refundable tax credit or credits (no photo ID required)?
      A nation divided will not stand for long.

    • In trying to get a handle on finances for retirement I found the book “Can I Retire Now??” most helpful. Financial planning for the future is always difficult and every effort should be made to be well informed.

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.

MarketWatch - Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News
Bulletin
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Kohl's tells 3 top execs their positions are cut
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10 big stories you’ve missed this week
Penney responds to lawsuit over Burberry plaid
Mattel names new boss for Barbie business

It’s a ‘new Cold War,’ warns Russia PM

Bank of America chief gets a 23% pay raise
Intel lured Qualcomm exec with $25 mln pay
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I want my disabled sister out of our family home

Google exec squirms when questioned about pay

ECB may finally deal a deathblow to the €500 bill
Yen has crossed a ‘line in the sand’
Time for a coordinated response to the yuan?
Dollar to hit ¥95 by end of the year: Barclays

This can’t be why Apple made Beats deal with Dre

5 things to know about the Costco and AmEx breakup

How grocery business got ‘barbell’ shape

Dispute over safety claims costs Uber $28.5 mln

What bear market? Stocks look likely to rise

5 signs we might already be in a bear market
Looks like time for bottom fishing in stocks

Grammys make Memphis candy shop a winner

Economists increasingly see Fed hands as tied
What central-bank failures mean for investors
Have central banks lost market credibility?

How I paid off my student loans early

College freshmen most liberal since Vietnam

Big banks are fleeing the mortgage market
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Boomers are loading up on debt, not millennials

Why you probably won’t see 99 cent gas

Taxpayers already paying for future Super Bowls

Beer’s incessant infighting clouds the big picture

How to buy a used car
The correct way to go about buying a used car

Don’t get smoked by your marijuana investment

Actually, the most popular new emoji isn’t the taco
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5 yr CD
1.3%
2 yr CD
0.7%
1 yr CD
0.6%
MMA $10K+
0.2%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.96% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.12% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.35% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.17% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.20% 15.26% 15.27%
Reward 15.25% 15.28% 15.14%
Instant Approval 18.02% 18.21% 18.00%
Bad Credit 22.56% 22.88% 22.73%
Source:CreditCards.com

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