(Editor’s note: The current pandemic is most certainly impacting retirement planning. Some people have had to change course entirely while others continue to move forward with planning. Virtual tours and online pricing are available for those looking to continue planning or learn more. Whether now or in the future, there are affordable solutions to help. This content is sponsored by Acts Retirement-Life Communities.)
Retirement: what you’ve been dreaming about all your working life. Finally, you can hang up your hat, put up your feet, and enjoy the good life. And you’ve certainly earned it! At the same time, though, as good as it feels to no longer have to get up for work every day, there is one important question you need to ask yourself: can you afford to retire in the first place?
Don’t panic. There are plenty of great options to live out your retirement years in ways that you can afford. Here are some of the best tips for making your retirement savings stretch as far as it needs to while also being able to enjoy your newly-retired status.
Time to Move? Maybe
First and foremost, it’s time to re-evaluate your living arrangements. If you’re still rattling around that big old family home of yours even though the kids have long since flown the coop, you might not need that empty nest as much as you think. Emotional attachment notwithstanding, you can easily make your dollars stretch further by trading in that big, rambling home for something smaller, perhaps even a retirement community where all the upkeep is handled for you.
Putting a family home on the market can provide you a major shot in the arm when it comes to retirement income. You can take the proceeds of a real estate sale and use it to find a smaller, less expensive home, or even leverage it to join a continuing care retirement community where your health care needs will be covered for the rest of your life, even if those needs increase in the future. Another option worth considering is to keep the home and rent it out, using the income from rental payments to help you afford your new lifestyle and watching some new family enjoy it as much as you did.
Considering moving to a senior living community? Click here to read about the average cost of independent living.
Continue to Downsize for Even More Savings
Regardless of whether you sell your old home and move into a newer, less expensive one, there are plenty of other ways to stretch that retirement budget. Continuing on the downsizing bandwagon can help you save more than a few pennies as well, and this means you can take those savings and use them to not just reduce your costs but treat yourself to new and exciting experiences in your retirement years.
There are countless ways to downsize your possessions. For instance, you can save a bundle by getting rid of a second vehicle you might own that your spouse would have used while you were at work. The costs of upkeep on even one vehicle can be irritating, but selling a second vehicle means no more having to pay for insurance on it and keep up with regular maintenance. Are there similar other examples in your life? An old motorcycle collecting dust in the garage? A number of mountain bikes you no longer use? A boat that hasn’t seen the water in years?
Re-Evaluate Your Insurance Products
So you’ve paid off your home (or possibly even sold it) and your kids are long gone from the house, well-established in their own lives with their own budding families. At this point, it’s only natural to think about re-evaluating any life insurance policies you might have taken out in your name. It might sound a bit morbid, but the truth is that you might not need that policy as much as you used to; the amount of coverage you have now might not be as necessary as it once was.
This isn’t just relegated to life insurance, either. Many insurers, such as car insurance companies, also offer senior citizen discounts that you can take advantage of to save a few bucks here and there. When you combine that with a lowered premium because you reduce your coverage across the board (or your car insurer charges you less because you’re spending less time on the road, for example), this also adds up to some nice savings.
Go for Lower Cost Products and Services Whenever Possible
Finally, there’s something to be said about being thrifty. You don’t have to be of retirement age to benefit from choosing more economical options when it comes to the products and services you use every day, of course, but it can certainly help. Even something as seemingly innocuous as switching all the light bulbs in your home from incandescent to LED can help reduce your monthly electricity bill by enough to make a serious difference.
There are dozens of ways to save money by going for lower-cost alternatives for other recurring bills. Reducing your thermostat just a few degrees can save a bundle on your heating bill. Asking for senior discounts whenever possible is one route to go, as is reducing the number of services you’re paying for. Ask yourself: do you really need all those cable television channels or can you get away with just paying for internet access and streaming what you want, when you want? Are you benefiting from that expensive mobile phone plan or is it time to switch to a cheaper carrier? Also consider that when moving to a retirement community, many of these expenses such as heating, electricity, and cable are covered for you.
Don’t Just Plan to Afford Your Retirement, Plan to Enjoy It
No matter how much money you might have socked away for your retirement years, it’s always a good idea to make that retirement savings last as long as possible. Not only that, but having extra cash lying around makes it easier to enjoy the finer things in life during retirement.The last thing you want to worry about is whether you’ll be able to afford it!
That’s why keeping the above strategies in mind for living in a more affordable manner will go a long way towards whatever retirement goals you might have. Enjoying an affordable retirement is all about taking a number of little steps that, taken separately, might not look like much, but all work together to make a big difference, and that’s the true key to enjoying a long, comfortable, and well-earned retirement
For more information on retirement, read these articles, read these articles by Acts Retirement-Life Communities:
- Can I Afford Retirement?
- Retirement Myths vs Reality: What You Need to Know
- Should I Sell My House When I Retire?
Acts Retirement-Life Communities is the largest not-for-profit owner, operator and developer of continuing care retirement communities in the United States. Headquartered in suburban Philadelphia, Acts has a family of 23 retirement communities that serve approximately 8,500 residents and employ 6,200 in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. For more information about Acts visit actsretirement.org.
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