Whether it’s the rising cost of healthcare, uncertainty in the stock market or skyrocketing consumer and credit card debt, being able to comfortably retire in today’s financial landscape may seem more like a chess match than a relaxing game of checkers.
If each of us knew the exact day in which we would take our last breath, retirement planning would be a breeze. Other than the extreme morbidity of knowing your ultimate expiration date, you’d have the ability to walk your budget backwards, carefully earmarking funds for all the important things you’ll need money for along the way: vacations, home expenses, groceries, bills and ultimately, your end-of-life expenses.
If this were the case, you’d know exactly how much money you’re left to play with after all the “must-do” items were checked off the list. None of us have this luxury though, so we’re left to navigate these ever-murky retirement waters.
Only in recent decades has the accountability for retirement savings shifted – almost completely – from employer to employee, as pensions have largely gone the way of the dinosaur. The duty now falls squarely on you, the retiree.
In this blog post we will discuss two areas where you should focus your efforts to ensure that you don’t outlive your savings in retirement.
MAKING A REALISTIC BUDGET AND WITHDRAWAL STRATEGY
First, start with your essential expenses such as food, housing, utilities, clothing, baseline healthcare costs and any monthly payments like auto and homeowners insurance. These should be the expenses that you tie to your most reliable sources of income. What you’ll find now is that once you separate your costs between “wants” and “needs,” is that there is also a lot of “want” within your “need” category. Take some extra time to further analyze this list and decide if you can scale back any of these “highly-desired needs.”
Once you’ve met your essential costs, now turn your attention to your discretionary spending – things like vacations, entertainment or one-time travel costs. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make in creating your budget is including something as “essential” when you should’ve included it within the “discretionary” list, which serves only to add confusion to your budgeting practice. Check out our monthly budgeting sheet here.
BOOST YOUR RETIREMENT CASH FLOWS
Even once you’ve called it quits with your career work, there are still many ways retirees can stay busy while producing extra revenue streams to stretch out their savings, in addition to finding something to fill the hours of their new wide-open schedule. The real retirement winners are those retirees that are able to combine a hobby with a part-time job.
For instance, someone who loves gardening who is able to work outside as a groundskeeper after years in front of computer screens as an accountant. Oftentimes, part-time employment allows you to maintain some level of employee-sponsored benefits, which could hold the potential of saving you money on healthcare.
Another way you can boost your income during retirement is through owning a rental property. While you will have to put some time into managing the property, it can make you some real money over time helping you pay down or refinance your mortgage, giving you more breathing room on your expenses.
However, it’s important to remember that real estate can also require income, too. It’s not just a one-way cash generator. Roofs need to be replaced, furnaces need to be repaired, and so on. If you’re on a tight income, you’ll want to budget for the unexpected repair and have ready cash.
Ensuring you have enough money to live your life comfortably until the end is an essential part of retirement planning and although these things are not necessary, they can help keep you productive and happy during retirement.
If you have questions about preparing for retirement give us a call, we can help.
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