CAUTION: Be Prepared for Spending Categories That Increase In Retirement

Sandra Cleveland |

Heads up - most people spend more in these categories in retirement than they did before retirement.

Have you thought maybe this pandemic remote work is like a test drive for retirement – you are home a lot and maybe have some extra time to pursue your personal interests? 

This experience may give you a better idea of how you want to spend your time in retirement.  It may help you better estimate your spending in retirement too. 

Here is some information based on data, some from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual survey on consumer spending.

There are several categories where retired households spend more than working households.


Most retirees put travel at the top of their list of retirement goals.  Whether you want to cruise European rivers on luxury ships or get away for the weekend to visit your grandkids, you have the time to add more travel to your life.  A recent hot item for retirees and those planning for retirement is an RV. 

Health Care

A household’s total spending on health care increases from 8% in preretirement to 11.2% by the time a household is past the age of 85.  This includes spending on general health needs like insurance, prescriptions, and medical services and is driven higher by costly diagnoses and hospitalizations.


Retirees are home more often, and they consume more utilities.

Moving and Relocating

Whether it is downsizing in the same community, moving cross country to be closer to family, or finally moving to the destination you usually vacation, many retirees change residences.  Be aware “downsizing” does not mean less expensive.  Do your homework to know the costs before you make the commitment.


Getting fit is a win-win for retirees, it fills your time in a positive way and improves your physical and mental health.  Research shows about 13% of a retiree’s annual spending is for fitness and leisure activities and the fitness industry is starting to cater to seniors.

As you plan your retirement, remember to include your personal desires in these categories in your spending projections. 

Let yourself dream and work to make your dreams come true by starting now. 

- Sandra Cleveland