Many retirees can live well on less than what the financial-planning industry tells them. Here's how to look beyond the formulas.
Expensive illnesses, long-term care and extreme longevity can suddenly throw retirees' estimated income needs out of whack. When the Society of Actuaries interviewed middle-class retirees in focus groups earlier this year, "they were managing very carefully, adjusting their spending where they needed to and trying not to draw down" their savings, Ms. Levering says. "But they were not planning for shock events."