Consumption Smoothing


DEFINITION of 'Consumption Smoothing'

The ways in which people try to optimize their lifetime standard of living by ensuring a proper balance of spending and saving during the different phases of their life. Those who overspend and put off saving for retirement to enjoy a higher standard of living often have to work longer or reduce their standard of living in retirement. Those who over save will live a more frugal lifestyle while working to enjoy a better lifestyle while retired. In each case, the overall standard of living is less than optimal.

BREAKING DOWN 'Consumption Smoothing'

Saving for retirement is a delicate balancing act. By having a a better understanding of the saving and spending requirements to smooth out standard of living, one can have a a better overall standard of living, at least in theory. But this is easier said than done, and striking this balance is one of the major challenges of financial planning.

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  1. Do dividends affect working capital?

    Regardless of whether cash dividends are paid or accrued, a company's working capital is reduced. When cash dividends are ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do prepayments provide working capital?

    Prepayments, or prepaid expenses, are typically included in the current assets on a company's balance sheet, as they represent ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Does working capital include salaries?

    A company accrues unpaid salaries on its balance sheet as part of accounts payable, which is a current liability account, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is a profit and loss (P&L) statement and why do companies publish them?

    A profit and loss (P&L) statement, or balance sheet, is essentially a snapshot of a company's financial activity for ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do dividends affect the balance sheet?

    Dividends paid in cash affect a company's balance sheet by decreasing the company's cash account on the asset side and decreasing ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Are dividends considered an expense?

    Cash or stock dividends distributed to shareholders are not considered an expense on a company's income statement. Stock ... Read Full Answer >>

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