Estimating the Cost of Retirement

Retirement plan3While there’s no magic formula that will give you the right answer, you can estimate costs.

Here's how:

Phase One: Retirement Day to 80+. This is the phase in which folks are very active, like playing a lot of golf, enjoying vacations and new hobbies. Some say that retirees’ cost of living will go down 40%, but that’s not always the case if you’re involved in many activities or jetting across the globe. For many during this first phase of retirement, costs will go up. Plan on your cost-of-living to increase around 4% per year in Phase One. That rate may sound a bit aggressive, but it’s best to err on overestimating on costs and underestimating on income.

Phase Two: Between the ages of 85+. Many retirees are still active in this phase, but they may begin to settle down some. While many people are still spending during this phase, the cost of living typically levels off. Plan on an increase of 3% per year to be conservative, again. Overestimating expenses in the planning process can help make reality better than projections.

Phase Three: Age 85 and beyond. In the third phase of retirement, people usually spend more time at home and with their families. As a result, expenses decrease, provided there are no major health concerns. This is the time to consider the legacy you want to leave. You can even start transitioning some of your wealth to heirs. However, to be conservative, you should continue to build in a cost-of-living increase of 2% a year.

No matter how you define the phases, most people’s interests, abilities, and spending habits change during these three phases of retirement. It’s smart to take that into consideration when estimating your retirement costs.

Reference: Kiplinger (February 8, 2018) “The 3 Spending Stages of Your Retirement”


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