“If the recent rout in the stock market has you drastically cutting back your retirement spending plans, it probably means that you were counting too much on ever-rising asset prices. But a new research paper suggests that spending less at advanced ages is not necessarily a sign of failure to plan. Even people who plan perfectly do it.
Let’s back up for a minute. The notion that your spending should be consistent over your lifetime is known as consumption smoothing, an economic concept developed by Milton Friedman, Franco Modigliani, Robert Hall and others. The core idea is simple: No amount of luxurious living at age 60 compensates for living in penury at 25 or 85. So you should borrow when you’re young, save and pay off debts during your peak earning years and then spend down your savings in old age. If you do it right, you will enjoy an even standard of living throughout your adult life.”