How Much Can I Afford To Spend In Retirement?



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October 20, 2019

Good News/Bad News—We Have Changed Our Default Assumptions for 2020 Spending Budget Calculations

October 8, 2019

Developing a Reasonable Spending Budget—Monte Carlo Modeling vs. Actuarial Approach

September 25, 2019

Who Will be Responsible for Your Retirement?

August 25, 2019

Is $1 Million of Savings Enough?

August 25, 2019

Recommended Financial Planning Process for Retirees and Near-Term Retirees

August 6, 2019

Make Sure Your Retirement Plan Properly Funds Your “Lumpy Expenses”

July 23, 2019

July 9, 2019

Ok Retirees, Now May be a Good Time to Shore Up Your Floor Portfolio

July 5, 2019

Better Budgeting with “Actuarial Budget Buckets”

June 15, 2019

Establishing Dedicated Asset Reserves to Fund Different Types of Retirement Expenses

June 8, 2019

Will Actuaries Miss the Boat Again on Social Security?

May 26, 2019

Forecasting Future Investment Returns

April 26, 2019

Yes, Determining How Much You Can Afford to Spend in Retirement is More Difficult than Saving for Retirement

April 12, 2019

Crunching the Numbers on Pension Lump Sums—Part II

April 10, 2019

Building Your Floor Portfolio with Extra Low-Risk Investments

March 16, 2019

There Are No Guarantees if You Self-Insure Your Retirement—Part 2

February 26, 2019

How Much of Your Retirement Assets Should be Allocated to Your “Floor” and “Upside” Portfolios?

February 24, 2019

You Need to be Flexible and Have a Plan to Win the Retirement Game

February 21, 2019

300th Post—We’ve Added a Smoothing Tab to the Actuarial Budget Calculators (ABC’s) for Retirees

February 12, 2019

Pension Actuaries to Discuss Solutions to the Lifetime Income Challenge

February 7, 2019

If You Aren’t Separately Budgeting for Non-Recurring Expenses, You Probably Don’t Have a Robust Retirement Spending Budget

January 16, 2019

Expand Your Spending Categories in 2019 for Better Personal Retirement Budgeting & Planning


December 31, 2018

December 20, 2018

December 4, 2018

November 27, 2018

November 6, 2018

October 29, 2018

October, 23, 2018

October 15, 2018

September 16, 2018

September 12, 2018

August 29, 2018

August 12, 2018

August 8, 2018

July 19, 2018

July 11, 2018

June 30, 2018

June 27, 2018

June 25, 2018

June 23, 2018

June 19, 2018

June 9, 2018

May 16, 2018
Actuarial Budget Benchmark (ABB)—A Much More Robust Spending Algorithm

May 12, 2018
We Continue to be Baffled by the Two Primary U.S. Actuarial Organizations

May 1, 2018
The Search for Certainty in the Uncertain World of Personal Retirement Financing

April 23, 2018
OK, Retirees, What’s Your Plan for Dealing with the Upcoming Bear Stock Market?

April 6, 2018
Do Stochastic Models Necessarily Do A Better Job of Helping You Determine How Much You Can Safely Spend This Year?

March 3, 2018
Developing a Sustainable Spending Plan (SSP) vs. Using a Systematic Withdrawal Plan (SWP)

February 28, 2018
Save More for Retirement?  Nah, I’ll Just Work Longer

February 21, 2018
Investing and Spending in Retirement is Risky Business

February 16, 2018
We Kick the Tires on Fidelity’s “Retirement Score”

February 4, 2018
Should Increasing Your Investment Risk Increase Your Current Spending Budget?

January 21, 2018
Life Expectancy vs. Lifetime Planning Period—Part II

January 14, 2018
Maintaining Your Principal—Another Spending Budget “Data Point”


December 27, 2017
It's Time to Perform Your Annual Actuarial Valuation

December 21, 2017
Better Budgeting with the IRS/RMD Table? ? Part II

December 11, 2017
When Can I Afford to Retire and When Should I Commence my Social Security Benefits?

December 6, 2017
Life Expectancy vs. Lifetime Planning Period

November 26, 2017
Modeling Deviations from Assumed Future Experience

November 21, 2017
Survivor Payments Anticipated After First Death Within the Couple

November 6, 2017
Five Common Misperceptions About Using the Actuarial Approach for Personal Financial Planning

October 29, 2017
We Have Two New Actuarial Budget Calculator (ABC) Workbooks for Couples

October 23, 2017
In Search of the Optimal Retirement Planning Strategy

October 8, 2017
Are There Better Spending Budget Calculators Out There Than Our Actuarial Budget Calculators?

October 7, 2017
Nice Review of The Actuarial Approach in The Globe and Mail

October 3, 2017
Better Budgeting with the IRS RMD Table?

August 27, 2017
Front-Loading Your Spending Budget by Treating Travel Expenses as a Non-Recurring Expense

August 22, 2017
Are You Over-Estimating Your Future Retirement Spending Needs?

August 8, 2017
Budgeting to Meet Your Spending Goals in Retirement vs. Cobbling Together Sources of ?Lifetime Income?

August 3, 2017
The American Academy of Actuaries Stumbles on Social Security ?Sustainable Solvency?

July 28, 2017
Got ?Lumps? in Your Sources of Income or Your Expenses?  Smooth Them Out with the Actuarial Approach

July 23, 2017
What is an Appropriate Discount Rate for Personal Financial Planning?

July 18, 2017
McLean Asset Management Endorses Basic Actuarial Principles for Personal Financial Planning

July 10, 2017
Now, That?s What I?m Talking About

July 4, 2017
Nobody Knew Couples Budgeting Could be So Complicated

June 27, 2017
Using the Actuarial Budget Benchmark (ABB) to Find Your Retirement Spending Comfort Zone

June 8, 2017
We Have a New and Improved Actuarial Budget Calculator (ABC) for Retirees

June 2, 2017
Society of Actuaries Confirms Impact of Continuing to Work on Spending Budget

May 24, 2017
Are You Being Too Frugal in Retirement?  The Actuarial Budget Benchmark Can Help You Decide

May 10, 2017
Introducing Your Actuarial Budget Benchmark (ABB)

May 8, 2017
Recommended Assumptions & Other Inputs to Develop Your Actuarial Budget Benchmark

April 28, 2017
Society of Actuaries? Financial Wellness Collection

April 20, 2017
Spending Down Your Assets in Retirement ? Finding the ?Goldilocks? Solution

April 13, 2017
Safe Withdrawal Rates?The Good News Bad News Story

April 9, 2017
"The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts"

March 30, 2017
What?s in a Name?  That Which We Call the Actuarial Approach?

March 26, 2017
Hey Millennials, How Much of Your Pay Should You Be Saving?

March 20, 2017
You Can Spend It Now or You (or Your Heirs) Can Spend It Later ? Part II

March. 12, 2017
The Actuarial Approach?Much More Than Just a Measure of Where You Stand Financially

March 9, 2017
The Consequences of Overestimating Retirement Expenses

March 5, 2017
Actuarial Approach with a Different Name

February 23, 2017
The Actuarial Approach and the Importance of Ongoing Financial Planning

February 4, 2017
Five Ways to Increase Your Near-Term Spending, Part II

February 2, 2017
Avoiding Financial Regret about Retiring Too Early

January 29, 2017
Why the Actuarial Approach Works Even Better

January 21, 2017
How Much Retirement Savings Will You Need to Feel Financially Secure? 

January 12, 2017
Another Call for a Paradigm Shift in Retiree Spending Budget Thinking

January 8, 2017
4 Keys to Winning the Financial Security Game

January 3, 2017
How Did You Do Last Year?

January 2, 2017
Recommended Smoothing Approach for Actuarially Calculated Spending Budget in Retirement


December 21, 2016
Warning Labels Needed for Systematic Withdrawal Plans (SWPs)?

December 16, 2016
Thank You, Bud

December 15, 2016
Johnson?s Social Security Reform Proposal Will Require Millennials to Save 4% More of Their Annual Pay, on Average, to Replace Benefit Reductions

December 10, 2016
We Have New and Improved Actuarial Budget Calculator (ABC) Workbooks  

November 23, 2016
Why is the American Academy of Actuaries Painting Such a Rosy Picture of Social Security?s Long-Term Financing Problems? 

November 20, 2016
Using Multiple ?Data Points? to Determine How Much You Should Spend

November 14, 2016
Deferring Commencement of Social Security Benefits is Ok, Deferring Retirement is Better? Part II

November 7, 2016
Pension Actuaries Discuss Best Ways to Employ Assets to Mitigate Risks in Retirement

November 4, 2016
You Want Software that Models the Effect on Your Retirement Spending Budget of Assuming Different Rates of Future Increases for Multiple Expense Categories?  We?ve Got It! 

October 31, 2016
Is it Time for a 2016 Spending Check? 

October 27, 2016
Focus on Your Spending Budget in Retirement; Not How Much You Can Withdraw from Your Investment Portfolio

October 12, 2016
Development of Betsy?s Pre-Retirement Spending/Savings Budget

October 2, 2016
We?ve Updated the Present Value Calculator and Added a New Member to Our Team

September 29, 2016
How Much Do You Really Need to Save Each Year to Achieve Your Financial Goals?  

September 22, 2016
Got Those ?Conflicting Social Security Deficit Estimate? Blues Again 

September 4, 2016
Recommended Assumed Annual Rate of Investment Return Lowered Again

August 20, 2016
Planning for Constant Real-Dollar Spending in Retirement ? Is It Setting the Bar Too High? Part II 

July 30, 2016
Retired Actuary Calls for Actuarial Profession to Advocate True Social Security Sustainability

July 27, 2016
?It?s Simply Common Sense? to Develop Your Spending Budget in Retirement by Carefully Considering How to Deploy All the Retirement Assets You Own 

July 15, 2016
Don?t Let Financial Fears Ruin Your Retirement

July 4, 2016
Use a Rainy Day Fund to Manage Investment Risk in Retirement

June 27, 2016
Sequence of Returns Risk Generally Not Devastating if You Adjust Your Spending

June 16, 2016
Commission Proposes Comprehensive Changes to Strengthen U.S. Retirement System

June 13, 2016
Retired Actuary Calls for Actuarial Profession to Encourage Application of Sound Actuarial Principles for Managing Spending in Retirement

June 3, 2016
Adjust the 4% Rule Enough and You Might End Up with Something as Good as The Actuarial Approach?Part 2  

June 1, 2016
How Strategic is Your Retirement Spending Plan?

May 25, 2016
How Much of that Part-Time Income Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?

May 17, 2016
What Went Wrong with the 1983 Social Security Fix? 

May 9, 2016
Adjust the 4% Rule Enough and You Might End up with Something as Good as the Actuarial Approac

May 8, 2016
Actuaries Longevity Illustrator

April 30, 2016
Use the Actuarial Approach to Win the ?Retirement Finance Game?

April 25, 2016
Please Call Off the Search for a Safe Withdrawal Rate

April 21, 2016
Use the Logical ?Big Picture? Retirement Budget Setting Alternative

April 20, 2016
Determining the Retirement Income Strategy that is Best for You is Not Necessarily an Easy Task

April 2, 2016
You Can Do Better Than the IRS Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Rules for Your Withdrawal Strategy

March 31, 2016
Planning for Constant Real-Dollar Spending in Retirement?Is It Setting the Bar Too High?

March 26, 2016
Developing a Reasonable Spending Budget is More Than Just ?Tapping? Your Retirement Savings

March 4, 2016
Are you a Retired Boomer with a Large Fixed Dollar Pension?  One more Reason to Ignore Rule of Thumb Withdrawal Advice.

February 28, 2016
Is a 10X Pay Retirement Savings Target Too High?

February 27, 2016
Actuarial Budget Calculator V 1.1?Develop Your Spending Budget by Expense Type

February 24, 2016
Tick All the Core Financial Planning Boxes with the Actuarial Approach

February 16, 2016
How Long Can I Afford to Live in Retirement? ?Part 2

February 14, 2016
How Long Can I Afford to Live in Retirement?

February 9, 2016
QLACs vs. Deferral of Social Security Commencement, Part 2

February 7, 2016
We have a New Spreadsheet to Help You (or Your Financial Advisor) Develop a Reasonable Spending Budget

February 2, 2016
Back to Budget Basics--The Actuarial Approach Explained on One Page

January 31, 2016
Which is the Optimal Strategy?  Deferring Commencement of Social Security, Buying a QLAC or Neither?

January 30, 2016
Live Long and Prosper

January 22, 2016
Got Those "Conflicting Social Security Deficit Estimate" Blues

January 20, 2016
Rule of Thumb Withdrawal Strategies Just Don't Cut it fo
r Retirees

January 19, 2016
Come to Our Website for Impartial Advice Regarding Management of Spending in Retirement

January 15, 2016
Simple Present Value Calculator

January 12, 2016
How Future Expected Long-Term Care Expenses Affect Your Current Retirement Spending Budget--Part 2

January 9, 2016
How Future Expected Long-term Care Expenses Affect Your Current Retirement Spending Budget


December 29, 2015
How Did You Do This Year?

December 26, 2015
Happy New Year—Time to Determine Your Spending Budget for 2016

December 21, 2015
Recommended Assumptions to Develop 2016 Spending Budgets under the Actuarial Approach

December 17, 2015
Avoiding the Other Road to Ruin

December 15, 2015
Another Researcher Concludes that a Combination of Annuities and Asset Withdrawals is Generally More Effective than 100% of One or the Other

December 10, 2015
Use Our Revised Spreadsheet to Keep Your (or Your Client’s) Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR) Approach on Track

December 7, 2015
Is the Actuarial Approach Really the Only Financial Planning Software Capable of Helping You Formulate an Actual Financial Plan?

December 5, 2015
Use the Actuarial Approach and Our Spreadsheet to Address QLAC “Challenges”

November 30, 2015
5 Ways to Increase Your Near-Term Retirement Spending Budget 

November 24, 2015
Retirement Researcher Endorses Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts

November 18, 2015
Actuary Discovers Chinks in Monte Carlo Modeling Armor

November 17, 2015
Retirement Researcher Quantifies Benefits of Dynamic Withdrawal Strategies

November 5, 2015
Social Security Reform—Some Solutions are More Sustainable than Others

October 31, 2015
Actuaries Release Five New Issue Briefs on Retiree Lifetime Income 

October 24, 2015
Does New Math Clearly Demonstrate that People Should Delay Commencement of Social Security Benefits When Possible?

October 17, 2015
All About that Budget

October 15, 2015
Making Sense Out of Variable Spending Strategies for Retirees?

October 12, 2015
Fear of Outliving Your Savings vs. Fear of Not Spending Enough—Finding an Appropriate Balance

September 25, 2015
Another Look at Deferral of Commencement of Social Security Benefits

September 22, 2015
Retirement Planning in an Uncertain World--Part 2

September 4, 2015
Time for a Mid-Year Spending Adjustment?

August 31, 2015
A Good Idea—Developing a Spending Budget That Meets Your (or Your Client’s) Unique Needs 

August 27, 2015
Wait, What? No 2016 Cost of Living Increase for Social Security Means My Medicare Part B Premium Could Increase by Over $650 Next Year?

July 25, 2015
Combining Investments with Insurance in Retirement 

July 12, 2015
Pluses and Minuses of Buying Longevity Insurance (QLACs) 

June 27, 2015
You Can Save During Retirement, Too

June, 24, 2015
Will “Ratcheting” the 4% Rule Make it Less Insane?

June 18, 2015
Managing Risks in Retirement through Diversification of Retirement Income Sources

June 12, 2015
Good Time for Retirees to Stress Test Their Investment/Spending Strategies 

June 7, 2015
Don’t Just “Tap Your Retirement Savings”; Develop a Reasonable Spending Budget

May 28, 2015
Another Example of Why You Want to Use the Actuarial Approach

May 21, 2015
The Actuarial Approach—Periodic Matching of a Retiree’s Assets and Liabilities

May 14, 2015
Want to Really Take the Guess-Work Out of Your Retirement Spending Budget?

May 10, 2015
Brief Explanation of How to Use the Actuarial Approach, Revised 

May 7, 2015
16th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers

May 3, 2015
A Better Financing Approach for Social Security

April 26, 2015
Revisiting the Guyton Decision Rules

April 24, 2015
Expected Real Dollar Spending Budget Shaping

April 18, 2015
Your Withdrawal Strategy Should be Coordinated with Other Sources of Fixed Retirement Income

April 16, 2015
Delaying Commencement of Social Security vs. Buying a QLAC—Which Is the Better Strategy? 

April 13, 2015
What is Your Discount Rate for Immediate Life Annuities?

April 8, 2015
Researchers Claim Many Individuals Aren’t Smart Enough to Manage Assets in Retirement

April 2, 2015
The Final Say on Spending Rules—Not 

March 31, 2015
Spending More or Less Than Your Spending Budget

March 23, 2015
The Actuarial Approach—A Dominating Dynamic Spending Strategy

March 22, 2015
The Annually Recalculated Virtual Annuity—Pretty Darn Similar to the  Actuarial Approach 

March 19, 2015
Retirement Researcher Confirms Actuarial Methods Spend Down Wealth More Efficiently 

March 1, 2015
How Secure is Your Social Security? 

February 25, 2015
Buying an Annuity with Some of Your Accumulated Savings—What is the Best Approach to Bolster Your Spending Budget?

February 18, 2015
Crunching the Numbers on that Lump Sum Buyout Offer (Or Lump Sum Optional Form of Payment)  

February 14, 2015
Recommended Assumptions for 2015—Part II

February 4, 2015
Don’t Focus on a Single Assumption When Determining Your Annual Withdrawal--All Three Matter

January 25, 2015
Forecasting Future Investment Experience--Please Use Monte Carlo Simulations Responsibly

January 24, 2015
The Perfect Withdrawal Amount?

January 22, 2015
Bud Hebeler's Autopilot Withdrawal Rule 

January 1, 2015
Happy New Year—Time to Determine Your Spending Budget for 2015


December 16, 2014
Milevsky Probability of Portfolio Ruin Calculator

December 7, 2014
Demystifying the Spending Spreadsheets on This Website

December 3, 2014
Revisiting Recommended Assumptions

November 26, 2014
Don't Use the 4% Withdrawal Rule--And For Gosh Sake, Don't Use it With a Reset Button

November 24, 2014
Measuring Personal Retirement Plan Liabilities

November 19, 2014
So You Think You Are Financially Prepared to Retire? Use our Spreadsheet Tools to Test

November 16, 2014
Does Your Financial Advisor Develop Your Annual Spending Budget Based on How Much Assets You Have and How Long You Might Live?

November 14, 2014
100th Post--Nice Write-Up of the Actuarial Approach in the Toronto Globe and Mail

October 30, 2014
Revisiting the Recommended Smoothing Algorithm

October 24, 2014
You Can Spend it Now or You (or Your Heirs) Can Spend it Later

October 22, 2014
Thank You Michael Kitces

October 9, 2014
20 Years of Drinking the "4% Rule" Kool-Aid

September 29, 2014
Don't Be Worried and Confused About Making Your Money Last in Retirement

September 25, 2014
4% Constant Withdrawal Approach Leaves Much to be Desired (and Probably Too Much to Heirs at Death) 

September 9, 2014
Complimentary Posts From Steve Vernon

August 31, 2014
Managing Your Spending in Retirement--It's Not Rocket Science

August 27, 2014
Budgeting Around "Lumpy" Expenses

August 21, 2014
The Actuarial Approach vs. the "Bucket System"

August 20, 2014
Can Retirees Successfully Survive in a World of 401(k) Plans? - Part 2

August 13, 2014
Can Retirees Successfully Survive in a World of 401(k) Plans?

August 9, 2014
Deferral of Social Security Commencement is a Reasonably Good Strategy, But it May Not be All That it's Cracked Up to Be.

August 2, 2014
Are You "Most People"?

July 31, 2014
RMD Rules Don't Work Well With Longevity Annuities--Part 2 

July 26, 2014
The Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Rules Do Not Work Well With Longevity Annuities

July 19, 2014
How Well Does Your Retirement Budget Process Handle Your Specific Situation and Objectives?

July 15, 2014
You Don't Need to Use Monte Carlo Modeling to Develop a Reasonable Spending Budget in Retirement

July 12, 2014
Managing Risks in Retirement by Diversifying Sources of Retirement Income

July 7, 2014
New Research on How to Choose Portfolio Return Assumptions

July 5, 2014
IRS Finalizes Longevity Annuity Regulations

July 3, 2014
Two Interesting Videos on Dynamic Systematic Withdrawal Strategies

June 27, 2014
Using the Actuarial Approach to Determine Your Total Spending Budget in Retirement

June 21, 2014
Another Example of the Actuarial Approach for Determining Your Annual Spending Budget in Retirement

June 7, 2014
Forget the 4% Rule--Use Our Approach Instead 

May 24, 2014
Accumulating Savings for Retirement of 8X or 10X Pay is Better than 4X or 6X

May 1, 2014
Is the 4 Percent Rule Still Relevant for Retirees? Uh, Hells No

April 28, 2014
Deferring Commencement of Social Security Benefit is OK, Deferring Retirement is Be

April 24, 2014
Back to How Much Savings is Needed

April 4, 2014
Delaying Commencement of Social Security--Internal Annual Real Rate of Return Calculations

March 28, 2014
Several Wade Pfau Posts

March 12, 2014
Shopping Around for Withdrawal Strategies That Will Give You a Higher Withdrawal Rate?

March 4, 2014
Follow-Up to JP Morgan Post

March 1, 2014
JP Morgan's Dynamic Withdrawal Strategy

February 26, 2014
The Actuarial Approach and Withdrawal Policy Statements--Its in There!

February 14, 2014
Anticipating "Lumpy" Expenditure Needs

January 21, 2014
Comparison of Four Withdrawal Strategies Based on Recent Experience

January 16, 2014
Systematic Withdrawal Strategies Examined in Recent Stanford/SoA Study Leave Much to be Desired

January 13, 2014
Maximizing "Expected Utility" to Develop An Optimal Decumulation Strategy


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Ken Steiner, Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, Retired, and Bobbie Kalben, Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, Retired are solely responsible for the opinions expressed in this website. We advocate the use of basic actuarial and financial economic principles to help people make better financial decisions. Ken has been advocating the actuarial approach for determining reasonable spending budgets discussed in this website for over 10 years. Neither Ken nor Bobbie has expertise in asset investing or financial planning. Neither receives any direct or indirect compensation from visits to this website or from any activity associated with this blog.

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As discussed in the original March 2010 article contained on this website, there are many risks associated with self-insuring your own retirement. The general process described in the February, 2014 article and sample spending calculators in this website are made available to you as self-help tools for your independent use and are not intended to provide investment or financial advice. As with all planning tools, the reasonableness of the results (in this case, your “annual spending budget”) is a function of the accuracy of the data and assumptions that you input. Since you control these items as well as investment of your accumulated savings and your actual spending, we can make no claims or guarantees that you will not outlive your accumulated savings or experience significant decreases in amounts that may be spent in a future year if you follow the process described in this website. We assume no responsibility for those individuals who may outlive their accumulated savings or who may otherwise become dissatisfied in any way (or believe that they have suffered financially) by following the process described in this website as compared with some other strategy. All articles and sample spending calculators on this website are provided purely for your educational purposes. You are encouraged to seek professional advice from qualified investment/financial professionals before committing to any retirement spending plan and should not simply rely on the results you may obtain with the process and sample spending calculators described in this website.