Retirement Spending: Expect Volatility!

Susan Talton | Retirement | July 23, 2018

Life changes come with financial turbulence, what we call money in motion. And retirement is at the top of the list. In fact, a recent survey indicates that spending during the first three years of retirement is way more volatile than many people realize. On average, there is a 20% change — either up or down — from what was being spent before retirement. That is quite a large variance.

For more details, click on the chart on the left. It was created by JP Morgan Chase, based on client spending — use of credit/debit cards, ATM withdrawals and check-writing — from 2012 to 2016. More than half — 56% — of retirees ages 60 to 69 experienced a change in spending during the first three years of retirement, with just 22% being “Steady Eddies.”

Spending volatility — big variations in amount spent — is a major reason we work with our clients, often starting in their mid-50s, to map out a spending plan that is reasonable and sustainable beginning Day 1 of Retirement. We know needs and wants will change, but it is better to have a plan in place rather than being on autopilot during major life transitions. Underlying the work we do is spending sustainability analysis, which acts as a financial compass, pointed toward the life you want. When you veer off course, you can know by how much and how to get back on track.