What does Retirement Really Cost? Actually retirement doesn't cost anything, it's all those living expenses that cause trouble. I view life as a balancing act. In retirement the trick is being able to spend as much as you want without running out of money. As MG has often said annuities can help reduce longevity risk. The other approach is just to spend less than your portfolio and other sources generate. This gives rise to the "I can live forever" statements. As someone who has been retired for over 5 years and who over the course of retirement wants to spend as much as possible without running out of money, or shortchanging my heir, life is a little more complicated. Still, we are having a great time and doubt we will ever run out.