11th June 2024

To enjoy a financially secure retirement, it’s important to spend time doing some in-depth thinking well in advance to determine your goals and requirements in order to achieve the lifestyle you dream of. You need a robust financial plan. 

When thinking about the income you’ll need in retirement, many people find it helpful to think in terms of Maslow’s renowned Hierarchy of Needs. His pyramid has various levels of need that human motivations move through, starting with the physical requirements for human survival, and ending with mankind’s highest aspirations, reaching ‘self-actualisation’ at the apex of the pyramid. Adapting this approach to personal finance was pioneered in the US. Using this hierarchical approach in a personal finance context can be a useful tool in deciding how to plan your income in retirement. 

Survival income – This is the base of the pyramid and consists of the income you need to pay all your basic household expenses, your regular bills and running costs. 

Safety income – The next layer up, this is the amount you might need to meet life’s unexpected events, such as health and later-life care costs, loss of income and any emergency financial help you might want to give your family. 

Freedom income – This layer is all about assessing the likely cost of doing all those things that you never had time to do before you retired, including travel expenses, major purchases or indulging yourself in other ways. 


Many people add a gift layer representing money they want to pass on to children and grandchildren during their lifetime, and some add a dream layer, their ultimate ‘bucket list,’ to the very top. The apex of ‘self-actualisation’ represents the ultimate in reaching your full potential, being self-fulfilled and enjoying peak experiences. Maslow described this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, and “to become everything one is capable of becoming.” 

By viewing your retirement finances in this way, you can gain a clear picture of how much money you’ll need to help you enjoy the retirement you’ve always wanted. We can build a clear and comprehensive strategy. 

The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does not regulate Will writing, tax and trust advice and certain forms of estate planning.