When you start to look at the cost of living for a senior, things become quite dismal. However, there are steps you can take now and during retirement to enjoy life to its fullest in your golden years. From budgeting to travel, here are tips to thrive on a fixed income in retirement.
Forecast Your Future
Now is the time to take a hard look at your finances, regardless of whether you’re set to retire in a few years or already have. There’s no way for you to readjust or set a budget without digging into the numbers. You might know how to balance a checkbook, but your financial well-being is worth consulting with an advisor. Besides, a professional can provide insight into options that you otherwise would have missed. For example, do you know the value of a whole life insurance policy? With this type of policy in place, you take control, borrowing from your own investment and setting repayment terms up the way you see fit.
Once you’ve compared expenses against guaranteed income, you can knowledgeably develop a budget and see whether you have room for entertainment and travel. Now, you can start taking steps toward an improved future.
Cushion Your Fixed Income
Start padding your savings and stockpile for emergencies and leisure. All seniors should have their IDs ready to go for possible discounts. There are lots of ways to save, too.
Going beyond clipping the coupons from the weekend paper — which people of all ages should take advantage of — you should look at other ways you can save. Take a look at your living expenses, including your housing and transportation. You may be able to lower your mortgage payments by refinancing your home. A refinanced mortgage will replace your current mortgage, but you will have to give up some equity in your home, and you’ll have to pay a fee for title insurance and an appraisal.
Before you move to a cheaper city, start small and tackle your internet provider first. Even a few dollars of savings a month adds up in the long run. Then, do the same thing with your auto insurance. With plenty of companies to choose from, many insurance providers offer discounted rates for a number of reasons. Get quotes from a variety of companies to compare pricing and coverage. No matter where you live, the minimum coverage is necessary, but most people prefer full coverage for peace of mind in any situation.
Repeat this process for the rest of your living expenses and you could save hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. These savings can go directly to your entertainment and leisure accounts. After all, the leisure part of retirement is what everyone looks forward to.
Another option is to earn some extra income by finding part-time employment. You can use your past working experience to find work-from-home opportunities. By searching online job platforms like Upwork, you can find freelance positions as an accountant, copy writer, bookkeeper, sales consultant, and much more.
Formulate Fun on a Fixed Income
Your idea of fun as a senior might be different than it was 20 years ago, but you still need to have fun in retirement. Nothing is free, so start planning to enjoy your time on a fixed dime.
“If you fail to build in any funds for entertainment, the higher your chance is of blowing your budget,” according to Lifehacker’s Kristin Wong for MemberAdviser.com. So, be sure to work entertainment into your overall budget. Also, look for specials and activities offered at a discounted price to seniors to minimize spending.
Additionally, use online tools to save and find various forms of affordable entertainment. Sites like Groupon were created to let people discover new places, food, and products, and there’s even a section of Groupon dedicated to travel.
If you’ve always wanted to visit other states or countries in retirement but weren’t sure how you could afford it, look into all-inclusive packages, research pricing online, and consider traveling for work. Some companies and nonprofits actively seek out seniors to travel and act on their behalf, footing the bill for some or all of the costs.
What’s a little bit of work in exchange for seeing the world? The possibilities for your retirement are endless, but you have to come to terms with the reality of your finances before any real fun can begin. It’s never too late to better your situation and savor the golden years.
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