Spending in Retirement

spending in retirement equation

By: Chris Merchant, CFP®, BFA®

Heather and I recently attended a retirement planning conference in Boston, and one of the speakers explained an eye-opening formula which I thought was thought-provoking. He put these numbers up on the screen and asked if anyone in the audience could tell him what they meant:

2 x 3 x 10 x 7 x 52 x 20 =  Want to Take a Guess?

Here’s what the numbers mean:

2 People x 3 Meals a Day x $10 Per Meal x 7 Days a Week x 52 Weeks a Year x 20 Years in Retirement = $436,800.

That’s what a couple will spend on food during a 20-year retirement, and that doesn’t even account for inflation and the rising cost of food. This struck me as being a lot of money and to quote the presenter, “This is why it’s so hard to retire with dignity.”

My aim of featuring this equation is to emphasize the importance of having a smart plan for your money. When viewed over the span of a long retirement, even the basic costs of everyday things like food, utilities, etc.… can be a stretch. I want you to thrive in retirement, not just survive retirement. To do that, you need to grow your money for the future, while also protecting what you need now. It’s what we’re here to help you with every step of the way.

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