Explanations for the Decline in Spending at Older Ages

Published: 2021
Project ID: UM21-10


We propose to use new data from the 2019 wave of the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey to help interpret the observed decline in spending as individuals age. At one extreme, forward-looking individuals optimally chose the decline; at the other, myopic individuals overspent and were forced to reduce spending because they had run out of wealth. Which interpretation is correct has important implications for the measurement of economic retirement preparation.