For many people, the idea of planning ahead for retirement is not one they give much thought to, particularly in their 20s and 30s. Budgeting for a home, cars, educational needs, children and vacations take priority more often than not, leaving retirement savings and investments as an afterthought. Some are lucky in that their employers see to it they have some savings via pensions and investments such as a 401(K); for the rest, the need to save is an important one and one that should begin early on, as soon as one starts working, in fact.
Saving for retirement is only half the battle, however. It is also important to plan out retirement, specifically retirement spending. Even if a sizable nest egg is built before retirement, imprudent spending and unforeseen expenses can quickly dwindle the money to nothing and, while government assistance is helpful to a point, an independent retirement is really what everyone wants.
Tips for saving money during retirement
Do not be afraid to supplement monthly income in a variety of ways. Retirement from full-time employment does not mean retirement from working, period. Picking up a part-time job or doing odd jobs is a great way to earn extra money. If Social Security is a part of the monthly income, a retiree can still supplement through work, with no limit on how much may be earned per year once the full retirement age of 66 years is reached.
The next place to look at as far as money-saving goes is the home. If a retiree owns a home, it is a good idea to re-evaluate the worth of the home and whether it is worthwhile to continue living there. Sentimental value aside, the cost of maintaining a home, taxes, and insurance may amount to thousands of dollars every year. This does not include the money that may have to go into the house for repairs and even replacement in the event of damage. If staying in one’s home is still desired, a retiree could knock down the costs of home insurance by having the home reassessed for its current value. This will likely adjust the insurance premiums down to a lower rate.
Utilities are another area where prudent planning and cost cutting can have a positive effect on the retirement budget. Begin with a home energy audit, which most utility companies will do for a small fee. Plan to replace old appliances such as the refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, and even hot water tank with Energy Star-rated appliances. While the initial cost may be a bit more than the standard appliances, it will add up to major savings on electric, gas, and water bills in the long-run.
Retiring in senior communities
When maintaining a home is no longer appealing or affordable for a retiree, he or she may want to explore other retirement living and care options. Even if retirees do choose to remain in their home, looking into these varied options before needing them is always a wise, and money-saving, choice.
A popular type of retirement living environment is the Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC. A CCRC provides retirement living in a variety of levels, beginning with independent living situations, and also provides assisted living accommodations and skilled nursing. Ideal for retirees who want to enjoy retirement now while planning ahead for the future, CCRCs can be found in a variety of price ranges, with many affordable rental options available.
In addition to the all-inclusive aspects of this form of retirement living situation, one of the main reasons that CCRCs are so popular is that they offer residents guaranteed direct access to healthcare. Skilled nursing care will be a part of any CCRC facility, providing on-site care by professional medical staff to residents. Having on-site healthcare available can help retirees save a great deal of money, preventing serious illness from developing by treating them early on, as well as providing preventative care and wellness care. Many also maintain on-site pharmacies that not only provide medications to residents under full-time care, but to assisted living residents and independent living residents as well.
The fun side of retirement living
Of course, retirement living should not be just about counting pennies and frugal living. Retirement should be fun, and living in a retirement community offers unique opportunities for social interaction. Activities in a retirement living community may range from exercises and sport activities to crafts, film, music, and other indoor social activities. Many arrange trips as well, giving retirees a low-cost way to take a mini-break on the weekend or a little vacation without breaking the bank.
Saving money for retirement can take decades, and many retirees find their money quickly dwindling once the years of retirement begin. Supplementing income while evaluating and adjusting spending will help ensure that retirement money goes farther and allows for the best retirement possible.