Do Retirees Want to Consume More, Less, or the Same as They Age?

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The brief’s key findings are:

  • The conventional view is that retirees prefer steady consumption as they age, but research focusing on new retirees tends to show a sharp drop right at retirement.
  • This study looks at consumption over longer periods and explores whether wealth and health constraints might cause retirees to consume less than they prefer.
  • The findings confirm that, for households as a whole, consumption does decline.
  • However, these declines are at least partly driven by constraints, because households that are wealthier and healthier have relatively flat consumption.