Research shows that spending is often highest in the early years of retirement

When it comes to retirement spending, one of the common misconceptions is that a retiree’s expenses will remain the same throughout retirement. However, research shows that expenditures generally decline with age.*

Why is this the case? Typically, newly retired people spend more money than those that have been retired for a while due to more travel, recreation, or care for elderly parents. But over the long term, living expenses generally tend to decline, with a few exceptions, such as healthcare. Retirees in the highest age brackets usually stop spending money on durable goods, are less likely to make home improvements and may spend less money on travel, entertainment or meals out.

Take a look:

*Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, September 2023.


Chart shows total average annual expenditures for those age 75+ are 12% lower than those who are age 65-74.

Understanding the three phases of retirement

Retirees often move through three distinct phases of retirement as they age, and their income needs may change along the way.

  • The early “Go-go years”: In the go-go years, income needs may be high, given this is a time when retirees are typically the most active. For example, during the go-go years, retirees may be spending more money on travel, entertainment, hobbies, a vacation home, home improvements, or their grandchildren.

  • The middle “Slow-go years”: During this phase, income needs may begin to moderate. As the name of this phase suggests, the slow-go years are a time when retirees typically start slowing down. That may mean less travel and entertainment or even downsizing.

  • The later “No-go years”: As life begins to wind down, income needs in this phase may be low. This is a period of time when retirees are typically the least active. They may prefer to stay close to home, not do much or spend much.

To help ensure you have lasting income through all of retirement’s phases, ask your financial professional if an annuity with protected lifetime income may make sense for part of your overall retirement portfolio.


A financial professional can help you design an income strategy that is tailored to your specific retirement needs and goals.


Annuities are long-term products designed for retirement. Early withdrawals may be subject to withdrawal charges. Partial withdrawals reduce the contract value and may also reduce certain benefits under the contract, such as the death benefit and the amount available upon a full surrender. Withdrawals of taxable amounts are subject to ordinary income tax and, if taken prior to age 59½, an additional 10% federal tax may apply. Guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.


Annuity income benefits may be standard or optional. Additional fees, age restrictions and limitations apply. With variable annuities, investment requirements may also apply. Depending on investment performance and income needs, you may not need to rely on the protection provided by an income benefit. As an alternative to electing an income benefit, you can annuitize your contract and receive income payments for life at no additional cost.