Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Maintaining a home typically is the number one expense for retirees, consuming between 40 and 45 percent of household budgets, according to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The study found that average household spending decreased somewhat in 2005-2011 across all age groups, possibly in response to the financial downturn that left homeowners with tighter budgets.

Health expenses meanwhile increase with age. “In 2011, households with at least one member between ages 50 and 64 spent 8 percent of their total budget on health items, compared with 19 percent for those age 85 or over. Health-related expenses occupy the second-largest share of total expenditure for those ages 75 or older,” it said.

The study did find that some expenses, in particular transportation and entertainment, decline as a person ages, largely due to eliminating commuting and going out less. Food and clothing expenses remain essentially flat across age groups.