2024 Retirement Charts

I’ve always loved charts.

Done well, they offer a great opportunity to learn a lot in a short amount of time.

If you’re a chart-lover like me, you’re going to love today’s post, which highlights some of the best retirement charts I’m aware of.

Today, I’m sharing the best retirement charts from J.P. Morgan’s 2024 Guide to Retirement. It’s one of my favorite annual publications, and I appreciate Jesse at Best Interest for making me aware the 2024 report is now available (BTW, Jesse produces some great content. If you’re not already subscribed to his email, I encourage you to do so here – for the record, I’m getting no compensation for the recommendation, I’m just doing it because I love his work).

Charts are a great way to learn a lot in a short amount of time, and these 2024 Retirement Charts are worth your time. Share on X

With that, let’s look at some retirement charts!



2024 Retirement Charts

Below, I’ve selected my favorite charts from the 52-page J.P. Morgan 2024 Guide to Retirement, along with my commentary and major takeaways for each chart.   (BTW, Apologies in advance for the “Pinterest” tag that pops up with each chart.  I can’t figure out how to get rid of it, but if you wait a few seconds it goes away.)

With that, let’s look at some cool retirement charts! 


1. Know What You Can Control

We often worry about things we can’t control (e.g., market returns), but focusing your energy on those areas wastes time and effort.  Instead, focus on what you can control, like your savings rate, how much you spend, and your asset allocation.  It’s a mindset I’ve adopted for my retirement, and it’s serving me well.


2. You’ll Probably Retire Earlier Than Planned

I’ve written about this reality numerous times, and study after study continues to confirm the reality.  While you may expect to work until age 65, the majority of retirees never make it that long.  Be prepared for the real possibility that you’ll be forced into retirement earlier than planned.  It happens much more often than people realize, and you’d be wise to be prepared in case it happens to you.


3. The Longer You Wait, The More You Need To Save Per Year

I thought this was a handy matrix for anyone who has delayed saving for retirement.  Let’s say you’re 50 years old, earn $125k, and have $0 saved for retirement.  A quick glance shows you need to start saving 48% now to be able to retire at age 65.  Had you started at age 25, you’d have needed to save only 10% a year.  It’s a handy reference, so I decided to include it here.


4. Your Spending Will Likely Decline With Age

I found the chart interesting for two reasons: 1) it’s interesting to see what the “average” spending is per household, and 2) it’s surprising that average spending drops to the extent it does as we age.

* Data based on partially and fully retired households with $250k-$750k in investable wealth.  For a similar chart focused on folks with $1 – 3M of investible wealth, check out slide #32 in the original study.(TL:DR – the trend is similar for higher net worth households, but starts at $130k and declines to $89k in 85+ age bracket).


5. Sequence of Return Risk Is Real

While Dollar Cost Averaging is a proven method in the Accumulation Phase, consistent withdrawals can wreak havoc on a portfolio if a bear market strikes early in retirement. Consider dynamic spending strategies, where spending is adjusted based on market performance.  For an example, read my post “How Much Can You Safely Spend In Retirement.” It’s also helpful to have a few years of spending in cash, which is the approach I use in my Bucket Strategy, an approach that served me well throughout the market downturns of 2020 and 2022.


6. Health Care Inflation Hurts – Even After Medicare Kicks In

J.P. Morgan states “it may be prudent to assume an annual health care inflation rate of 6%, which may require growth as well as income from your portfolio in retirement.”  That’s the approach I took when I was determining When Can I Retire, using a 5% inflation rate for healthcare costs.  At age 61, my wife and I are paying for private health insurance and look forward to the day when Medicare kicks in.  However, it’s important to remember that Medicare costs are adjusted annually, and you need to have exposure to asset classes in your portfolio that will help offset inflation.  


7. Align Your Asset Allocation With Your Retirement Goals 

Determining the appropriate Asset Allocation in retirement can be a challenge.  It’s helpful to consider your retirement goals as you determine your asset allocation.  J.P. Morgan includes this chart as an illustration. If you don’t have a pension, it’s reasonable to consider adding an annuity to your portfolio to help cover your baseline spending.  At the other end of the scale, you need growth-oriented investments (e.g., stocks) to offset inflation and ensure you don’t outlive your money. 

For another example, the following is a quote from this post for how the Bucket Strategy can be used to determine an appropriate asset allocation in retirement:

For the sake of an example, let’s assume you hold 3 years of cash (Bucket 1), 6 years of bonds (Bucket 2), and everything else in stocks (Bucket 3).   If your portfolio equals 30 years of spending, the asset allocation becomes:

    • Cash       3 Years     10%
    • Bonds     6 Years      20%
    • Stocks    21 Years    70%
    • Total       30 Years    100%

Conclusion

I love the annual retirement charts compiled by J.P. Morgan.  I hope you find them as interesting as I do!

Your Turn:  Which was your favorite chart, and why?  Any surprises?  Finally, are there any other sources of good retirement charts that you’re aware of (if so, please share a link). Let’s chat in the comments…

54 comments

  1. Hi Fritz, I am an Indian admirer of your excellent blog. I love your blogposts about non-financial aspects of retirement. I became interested in planned investment for retirement and I do love financial charting. Since I am retiring in September 2024, it seems that your latest article is written specially for me! I have developed 20-25 sheets long Excel database for my own retirement finances having dozens of charts, which automatically update daily based on very few data entry from my side. I was a late in starting saving for retirement. I Started at 53 years age and I am now retiring at 60. I maintain a 70-30 Asset allocation by investing through SIP’s in mostly managed Mutual Funds and direct stocks. For Income distribution phase after retirement, I have planned 5 buckets with different Asset allocations to mitigate Sequence of Return risk.
    First three Charts of the article are informative, one normally come across such information at several places. But the fourth chart about decreasing spending with age is very interesting and makes one more confident of success for his plan. The Fifth chart about sequence of return risk is an eye opener. “Dollar Cost ravaging” is a funny title for pointing out a serious risk – normally overlooked by retirees. I was planning to start with a 4% withdrawal rate in first year and then increasing it annually at Indian Inflation Rate of 6%(ouch!), without bothering about market performance. Now, I may have to go back to drawing board :-(. The sixth chart about healthcare inflation is also scary. Though we have almost free healthcare at our company hospital for life, but we may have to spend out-of-pocket for quality healthcare at better facilities. Seventh chart about asset allocation is also informative, I am using 5 buckets with precise asset allocation for each bucket and also keeping the overall equity percentage in retirement at 30-35%. I have prepared a detailed cash-flow statement for first 25 years retirement. In all, your blog is very useful and thought provoking. A chart can say what a thousand words cannot. Keep up your good work!

    1. Vivek, you sound like you enjoy spreadsheets as much as I do, though I have to admit your 25 tab retirement spreadsheet surpasses anything that I have in place! You’re the first I’ve heard of with a “5 Bucket” strategy, but all that matters is whether or not it works for you. Also, congrats on funding your retirement in spite of a late start – impressive.

      1. Fritz, First 4 of the 5 buckets are nothing but a spin-off from standard 3 Buckets. The fifth bucket is for inheritance – not strictly part of retirement funding. The details:

        Bucket #1 – Floor Bucket (For lifetime) – Annuities & similar govt. schemes meeting expenses of first year – 32% allocation with 0% Equity.

        Bucket#2 – Bond Bucket (for additional income over Floor Bucket for meeting inflation in Year#2 – Year#14) – Bond & Arbitrage Funds for tax efficiency – 18% allocation with 8% equity.

        Bucket#3 – Hybrid Bucket (for additional income over Floor Bucket for meeting inflation in Year#15 – Year#24) – Hybrid Funds – 8% allocation with 74% Equity

        Bucket#4 – Longevity Bucket (for additional income over Floor Bucket for meeting inflation in Year#25 onwards) – Index Funds – 5% allocation with 100% equity.

        Bucket#5 – Legacy Bucket (Long term wealth for inheritance) – Mid-& Small-Cap Funds, Nasdaq 100, Commodities, etc. – 36% allocation with 86% equity.

        Overall – 44 % Equity

  2. i think it was meant to read…. to make sure your money outlives you…..

    1. Thanks for pointing out the error (try as I might during editing, it’s hard to catch them all). Corrected now…

  3. Thanks, Fritz. I tend towards being visual with most things. The excellent graphs are appreciated. My favorite is #5 regarding sequence of returns. So far, I’m 18 months into retirement and have been using the bucket type thinking and have set aside a few years of cash for our monthly spending and one-time purchases. The higher interest rate for money markets and CD rates makes this approach conducive to peace of mind.

    1. Charts can tell a story, but they can also hide a story. In this case, the chart doesn’t tell you how much spending was adjusted to make the money last. If “adjustment” means a 20-30% decrease in spending, is that OK? If you have the wiggle room to actually reduce spending, then it won’t be a problem.

    2. Bruce, it’s amazing how much quieter the critics have become about my Bucket Strategy with the higher interest rates available for Bucket 1. Peace of mind, indeed!

  4. Aloha Fritz!

    I am aware of a chart that shows if someone invests 10K into a stock index fund each year, starting at age 30 till 40, then ceases all investments the rest of his/her life, they have more funds than someone who invests 10K annually starting at 30 until 60! Even though person 1 invested only 100K total compared to person 2 who contributed 300K when they both reached age 60. That chart is the one I showed my young sailors to motivate them to invest early. And some did, which made me feel good inside when they told me their investments were growing “fruit”….at my retirement ceremony.

    Older folks, just keep pounding the “strength” of compound interest….some of the younger ones DO listen.

    Keep on sharing “your vast warehouse of knowledge” Fritz; you are motivating folks to wake up and move towards a rewarding and fruitful retirement!

    Give our best to Jackie and enjoy that grandbaby! Our five are visiting us this month after a 1600 mile one way road trip from FL. Just imagine, 3 days with 5 kids in the back. 😉

    All our love to you 2 and your readers, Steve

    1. It is mathematically impossible for the 30-40 year old investor to have more money than the 30-60 year old investor. Maybe investing $10k from 20-30 may have more than one that starts late to invest from 30-60.

      1. The chart in my Einstein article uses 25-35 as the early saver example.

    2. Steve, I know the chart. In fact, I’ve used it in an earlier article (the one where I talked about Einstein calling the power of compounding The Most Powerful Force in The Universe) – link below:

      https://www.theretirementmanifesto.com/15-building-block-ii-the-most-powerful-force-in-the-universe/

      Enjoy your visit with your 5 grandkids. I hope you get some rest during their visit. Wink. We’re picking up our Granddaughter this weekend for her second annual “Grand Camp”, a week in the mountains with Grandma and Grandpa, doing only the things 5 years old love to do!

      1. She will have a blast and so will her grandparents! I wrote my original post incorrectly, was 40-60 vice 30-60. My mistake. Trying hard to get young investors motivated just to start! First 100K is by far the hardest!

        Peace, Steve

  5. Thank you for another informative post.

    I was glad to see the mention of considering an annuity to cover baseline spending. Many people have negative comments about annuities, but I don’t think they have researched them lately. As a 63-year-old single male, I can buy an Income Rider annuity with a payout rate of 8.4% starting in just one year. I have an investment portfolio of $2.3 million, and I am thinking of taking $400,000 (about 17%) and buying an annuity that will pay me $33,600 a year. This isn’t adjusted for inflation, but my SS and the rest of my portfolio should provide all of the inflation protection I will need. Plus, the 8.4% payout rate is so much higher than the 4% rule, one could say it is already adjusted for inflation.

    Another element of my situation is that I have no heirs, so leaving a huge legacy isn’t a high priority.

    I must admit, the idea of reducing my net worth by $400,000, plus some capital gains tax, isn’t appealing in the short run, but over the long run, I think it will work well for me. 

    1. I posted our situation below.

      My wife and I put $800K into an annuity last year, and do not regret it! My advice would be “YES”. It’s nice to be receiving a paycheck each month for just hanging around the house playing with the cats…lol.

    2. Bernie, no doubt, annuities are more attractive now that interest rates have risen. Definitely an option folks should understand as a means to cover baseline spending, especially if they don’t have a pension. Thanks for the example of current payouts.

      1. Would social security be considered a pension in this case? I know in the future it will most likely be reduced so not sure much is guaranteed with SS. I will be 65 in a month and have been considering an annuity off and on but haven’t pulled the trigger yet, so to speak.

  6. This is all so complicated for the average person. I know nerds like us love these infographics but it’s no wonder people fail at retirement when it isn’t the easiest to understand and they don’t teach it school.

    1. It takes time to learn the concepts. Bit off a little each week and before you know it, it becomes more digestible.

  7. Fritz: re “4. Your Spending…” chart. Where are taxes treated? Are they in “Other,” or just left out entirely? I couldn’t find the answer in the JPM report either. (In fact, a search of that document for the word “taxes” produces NO results. What’s up with that?)

    1. Ahh…I see the answer in the JPM Guide “disclaimer” to Chart #32: “Other” includes “taxes.”

      1. Glad to see Doug answering his own question, saved me doing the work. 😉

    2. GREAT question. It would be interesting to visually see the proportional size of taxes compared to the rest of one’s expenses. I firmly believe taxes is one of the largest expense categories one has in their lifetime, including retirement.

  8. Economist Noah Smith has an economic blog, Noahpinion on Substack…..he had a post a bit back on charts/graphs. He was pointing out flags to indicate manipulations to show desired results. It was very interesting.

  9. More data confirming what we already know. Very helpful. Interesting that Chart 4 shows a steady decline with age vs. the planner/advisor popular “smile” profile of high in early go-go years, falls in slow-go years, then rises again in no-go yrs. Hmmm??

    1. Allen, I noticed that, too. I found that chart very interesting. Worth your time to look at the higher net worth slide in the actual study, too.

  10. I like a good chart too. I found myself contemplating the “average spending by age” chart the longest. A couple things on that chart struck me. First, I expected that healthcare would have increased more with age (thank you very much Medicare – despite inflation). Second, I was surprised that housing costs were such a large, consistent portion of spending in retirement. I would be curious to know the percentage of people that have their house paid off (by age) in retirement. It seems pretty risk to retire before you pay your house off. Might need to develop a chart for that one Fritz. 😊

    It was fascinating to see how spending drops with age, but then, that has certainly been true for my dad, who is 97. Whenever he pays for our meal, he says “what else am I going to spend it on.” Smile.

    1. Well, housing costs may increase in later old age if you move to some type of community living setting. Also, aging houses require occasional expensive repairs even if they’re paid off.

    2. I agree that housing cost being consistent was a surprise. If nothing else, you’d expect most retirees entering retirement with a mortgage would pay them off at some point, which is likely the driver for the slight downward trend in the 80’s before it reverses and climbs back up in later years (to Sabine’s point, likely due to assisting living-type housing for many).

  11. couldn’t agree more. JPM does a great job every year on this. I am always surprised on how big the % of budget spend is tied up in the house. I realize that stuff like property taxes, utilities, and home improvements are largely unavoidable, but I suspect that a large chunk of the spend is mortgages. I’ve always assumed that by retirement the majority of retirees own their own homes, but it appears that is not the case.

    1. Mark, see my comment above to Marian. It seems quite a bit of us noticed, and were surprised by, the housing data.

  12. Charts are great, they can be flashy and colorful, but the bottom line is, it takes a lot of planning, consistent saving and perhaps some sacrifice over years to get to the golden pot at the end of the rainbow. It’s not that easy for many of us.

    However, my wife and I did our homework, sacrificed and saved for 30 years. We both retired last year with a combined $2.5 million. We immediately put $800K into an annuity paying us $5,000 a month. $1 million went to growth accounts to keep pace with inflation. $500K went into money markets / CD’s and $200K is liquid cash. We will take social security at 70 in 5 years which will pay us combined over 9K a month.

    Are we lucky? No, we worked very hard for 40 years, raising kids and making sacrifices. We deserve every penny. We are lucky our health is good, though!

    1. Vince, your comments are spot on. I often see people post snide responses when someone with your retirement nest egg asks a question about retirement, assuming you’ve lived an entitled life. My wife and I have done the same as you….started saving beginning with our first jobs, made sacrifices to get jobs that allowed progression, and always have lived below our means despite being surrounded by many people that don’t. I saw someone refer to it as the “turtle” approach…slow and steady…and it’s worked very well for us, too.

    2. Well played, Vince. I hope those interest rates had climbed before you took that $800k plunge on the annuity? And yes, you’re right that far too of those who haven’t been responsible fail to give credit to those of us who have been. I hope they had fun with those “toys” that were the priority while we were making sacrifices – retirement is the time that the consequences of those decisions becomes starkly clear. That said, I also realize there are many who simply can’t save for retirement due to insufficient income, though I suspect far more claim to fall into that camp than actually do.

  13. I was shocked to see from chart #4 that average health care expenses do not increase significantly over time (despite the rather misleading prediction/guess chart #6). At age 70 I have a fear of expensive future nursing care, which I thought likely or inevitable, but which does not show up in this data. So maybe I can spend more now than I thought.

    1. I agree on chart #6. I would have to assume chart #4 shows real spending in 2024 dollars and that chart #6 shows nominal spending at the extremes (despite its labeling). Even at that, the data and math for chart #6 seem off (e.g. part B premium real spending does not increase with age as is likely Medigap, am i right?).

    2. Marty, I suspect some of the increased nursing care may show up in housing, which does tend to increase from mid-80’s onward. For example, would increased cost of an Assisted Living show up as health care or housing? My guess is that it falls into housing? Best to look at the spending in total, though even that is encouraging for those who are fearful about the risk of rising future expenses.

  14. Fritz, a great column! I had already looked at JP Morgan’s infographic deck after Ben Carlson’s A Wealth of Common Sense mentioned it in “When Life Forces Your Hand.” In fact I’ll mention it in next week’s video. That, of course, is the story of my crash-landing of a retirement, one month before I turned 59. But that is eight years ago. I’m 67. I regularly read you and Ben and many other retirement bloggers because this is a DIY retirement. Slide 6 clearly demonstrates most people planning their retirement must consider what happens if it happens sooner than you expect. I know. I was retired! Jim

    1. Thanks for stopping by with a comment, Jim. As much as I warn readers about the very real risk of being forced into retirement earlier than planned (>50% odds), most people never suspect it will happen to them. Thanks for the mention in your video next week, didn’t realize you were a regular reader of my work. Much appreciated. Like you, I also enjoy Ben Carlson’s writing, and seldom miss an article.

  15. Hi Mr. Fritz,
    We are about 4.75 years into retirement. The charts are very on point, as far as age at actual retirement. We left work a little earlier than planned due to job changes and I was tired of working for the MAN. So we were planning a year before retirement and had paid for someone to run the numbers and try and figure out what I was missing? Since I thought it looked good, I must be missing something!! Turns out they were right and we would be fine. Stock market has been very kind to cooperate, which makes it look like we are geniuses. The first 5 years can be treacherous for long term results.

    Cost of health care chart is not a pleasant sight but most readers of your letter are well aware and probably have it planned for.

    Proper planning and some luck sure go a long way. What the future holds is unknown. Enjoy your day all!

    1. “What the future holds is unknown.”

      Truth! (Though I will guarantee that a bear market, taxes and death will all be there…)

      1. You are correct! But the order and timing is to be determined by unknown events. Just hope to be around or maybe not??

  16. I went to JP Morgan and reviewed the entire presentation. What a great overview of most all of the financial issues that face a person in the latter part of life. I shared it a few family members. Thank you!

    My favorite slide was the retirement age, expectations vs. reality. I was surprised the median age is 62. Everyone in my circle is crossing their fingers and hoping to work to FRA if they can hang in there.

    1. Glad to hear you clicked through to review the entire presentation. I agree it’s a great overview, happy to hear you shared it with those who can benefit (kind of like what I did today, me thinks?).

      As I’ve mentioned earlier in the comments, many folks are surprised by the median retirement age. In spite of the 50%+ probability that you’ll be forced into retirement earlier than planned, the vast majority of people don’t recognize the risk…

  17. Thanks Fritz for this info and your love of charts!

    One of my favorite charts is honestmath.com monte carlo simulation. It runs 10,000 cases after one inputs retirement income, investment, and expense information.

    George

  18. Fritz,
    I find it very intriguing that individuals retired earlier than they originally thought. I also think about the statistics you provided previously about how individuals thought that they would move into part-time work as a way to ease into retirement. That makes me start thinking about possibly growing or developing my own business where I can have more control to work as much as I desire. I already owned a real estate portfolio, which is in fact of business, but thinking about expanding my 1099 work as a consultant. With both of those, you have a lot more flexibility and get to choose when and where you work.

  19. Fritz, like you I love stats, charts and numbers! These data explain much with few words. So easy to grab the big picture in a glance, I, for one, need regular reminding to stay the course!

  20. Hi Fritz,
    I am curious about your bucket method. I’m retired but my husband wants to continue working til age 62 because he enjoys his job. We anticipate having at least 5 million at that point with minimal to no mortgage. But most is invested in the market primarily through retirement funds. How do you recommend transitioning those funds to Bucket 1? Thank you for your insights!

  21. As always, an excellent article Fritz! Thanks for the shout out for The Best Interest. Spent some time on that site and am now a subscriber. Well researched and well written articles. Appreciate Jesse’s analytical approach. About the right amount and level of math for me.

  22. I still have 20 years or so before I can retire. With the way the economy is I sometimes wonder if I am ever going to be able to retire. Reading some of these blogs does give me some hope that it is possible. There is also a lot of good advice that if I can implement will hopefully help me be ready. I agree the charts are very helpful as it gives a lot of information in an easy to understand format. Thanks for all the time you put in this.

  23. I do enjoy well-done charts. (Any Tufte fans out there?). I tend to glean information when presented visually rather than textually.

    Of these, chart 5 was the first time I’ve seen the comparison between the two drawdown methods. Excellent!

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