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Retirement spending


Fidelity - Investment insights team


Retirement looks different for each of us. After all, we each have our own unique circumstances, lifestyles and goals. And of course, retirement is no longer a single event. It’s now an ever-evolving phase where your spending habits shift over time to meet your changing needs throughout retirement. So, it’s important to not only think about when you want to retire, but what your retirement might look like over time.

All being well, you can look forward to a long and fulfilling retirement so it’s important to think about how to make your money last, while also making sure you can actually enjoy those hard-earned savings. To help you think about your future financial needs, we’ve identified five key stages that can impact the amount you spend, or save, throughout your retirement.

Please note, this is not a personal recommendation for any investment or course of action. And, if you’re unsure about which approach is right for you, you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.

Work and save

Did you know 53% of those aged 55-75 plan to work at least part time in retirement*? So it may be that you also want to work longer, whether that’s full-time or part-time. This can be a good way to continue to afford your current lifestyle and pay the same outgoing costs. Particularly if you’re paying off a mortgage, looking after children, or caring for older family members. 

It’ll also allow you to maximise the amount already saved in your pension, as you’ll continue to make contributions and benefit from employer contributions too. Remember, your pension is invested for the long term with the aim of growing your pension savings over time. Like all investments, their value and the income from them can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you contributed. 

To see if your current savings are on track to meet your retirement goals, try out the  myPlan tool.

* The Fidelity Global Retirement Survey, 2019


You’ve worked hard to build up savings throughout your working life. And, your retirement should be a time for you to relax and enjoy them. So, you may decide to travel, make home improvements, take up a new hobby or look after your family. Of course, you might also want to move home. This may be to be closer to loved ones, to downsize or to live somewhere you’ve always dreamed. Whatever you decide is up to you. 

Of course, with every decision there could be an extra cost or perhaps a savings, so you’ll need to consider your options. And whatever you choose, usually you’ll need to be 55 or over to access your pension savings and this may change to 57 in 2028.

Check how much you need to live the life you want with our retirement calculator.


Overall, your needs will change throughout retirement. But there are some costs that will likely remain unchanged, even if you’re no longer working. Expenses such as your weekly food shop, council tax and utility bills. You may also continue to support children, grandchildren or older relatives. So, it’s important that you understand the amount of income you’ll need to cover the basics throughout your retirement. We know this isn’t the most exciting consideration, but it is an important one.

Use  our budgeting calculator to help work out what these ongoing costs might be.

Look after loved ones

It may be that you’re now starting to think about what you would like to gift or pass on to loved ones, possibly as an inheritance. 

First off, it’s important to have a will in place no matter what your age. You should also make sure you’ve nominated a beneficiary for your pensions (sometimes known as an Expression of Wish), to make sure your loved ones benefit from your pension if you were to pass away. Remember, pensions tend to fall outside of your taxable estate (depending on how old you are when you pass away and the type of pension you have). 

Log in to PlanViewer to make sure your beneficiaries are up to date.

Give yourself extra support

It’s not something anyone wants to think about. But planning for the unexpected like care and assistance is worth giving some thought to. In later life, you may face changes to your mobility or your health. It’s likely you may wish to stay in your own home for as long as possible. If this is the case, you may need (or want) to adapt your home or receive in-home care.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to retirement. And while it’s easier to just put it off, it’s definitely worth taking time today to think about and plan your finances for the future. And don’t forget to review your plans and income needs throughout your retirement, as your lifestyle and expenses will change.

If you’re over 50 and need more help, the Government's Pension Wise service offers free, impartial guidance to help you understand your options at retirement. Visit or call on 0800 138 3944. You could also speak to Fidelity’s Workplace Investing Service Centre on 0800 368 6868, who are always on hand to offer information or support. Or, if you’d like advice on which approach is right for you and your personal circumstances, you can speak to an authorised financial adviser.

Are you still some way off retirement but want to get on track now?

Access our useful hints, tips and information about planning for retirement in your 50s and 60s here.