Whether you’re already retired or still planning for it, here’s a question on almost everyone’s mind: “How much can I spend in retirement?” In a March 31st GRBJ article, Steve Starnes, CFP® covers how to spend comfortably, but not excessively in retirement.

There are handy rules of thumb to get you started – like “the 4% rule.” Suggested by Bill Bengen in 1994, this data-driven rule suggests retirees who hold a half-stock/half-bond portfolio should be able spend 4% of their portfolio’s worth in the first year of retirement, annually adjust that figure for inflation, and expect to spend sustainably for at least 30 years.

That said, it’s also critical to know when to make personal adjustments to these sorts of general guides. Factors to consider include: how your actual investment portfolio is holding up in real markets, how flexible you’re willing to be from one year to the next, and whether your spending needs increase or decrease over time.

Financial planning matters, but Steve also recommends considering what will be important to you in the years after your professional life winds down (working with a professional advisor if desired). After all, the best plans depend on what you want to achieve with the financial flexibility you’re able to create.