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Understanding Expenditure Patterns in Retirement

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  • Barbara A. Butrica
  • Richard W. Johnson
  • Joshua H. Goldwyn
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    Abstract

    Understanding the consumption needs of retirees is critical to assessing the adequacy of retirement income and the possible impact of Social Security reform on the well-being of older Americans. This study uses data from the Health and Retirement Study, including a recent supplemental expenditure survey, to analyze spending patterns and consumption needs for adults ages 65 and older. Results indicate that typical older married adults spend 84 percent of after-tax household income, and nonmarried adults spend 92 percent of after-tax income. Even at older ages individuals devote a larger share of their expenditures and income to housing than any other category of goods and services, including health care. Fully 8 percent of married adults report after-tax incomes that fall short of our estimated basic-needs threshold, consisting of housing, health care, food, and clothing. By comparison, only 3 percent of married adults have incomes below the official poverty level.

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    File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/understanding-expenditure-patterns-in-retirement/
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College with number wp2005-3.

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    Length: 41 Pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2005
    Date of revision: Jan 2005
    Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2005-3

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    Cited by:
    1. Salm, Martin, 2006. "Can Subjective Mortality Expectations and Stated Preferences Explain Varying Consumption and Saving Behaviors among the Elderly?," IZA Discussion Papers 2467, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Siwarat Kuson & Songsak Sriboonchitta & Peter Calkins, 2012. "Household determinants of poverty in Savannakhet, Laos: Binary choice model approach," The Empirical Econometrics and Quantitative Economics Letters, Faculty of Economics, Chiang Mai University, vol. 1(3), pages 33-52, September.
    3. Barbara A. Butrica & Gordon B.T. Mermin, 2006. "Annuitized Wealth and Consumption at Older Ages," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-26, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2006.

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