Today, nearly half of U.S. households report having zero retirement savings, according to the Economic Policy Institute.1This means that without significant changes in wages, expenses and saving habits, millions of Americans likely will be living solely on Social Security benefits in retirement. Even if you expect to have a bit more in savings, with today’s longer life expectancies, it’s important to plan for many years in retirement. The following are a few ideas to consider for ways to help make your money last over the long haul.
Even for those who pay off their mortgage, housing can represent a pretty big expense in retirement when you consider maintenance, repairs, property taxes, insurance and utilities for a large family home. You may want to consider moving to an alternative housing option early on to help reduce expenses. For example, explore less expensive options such as a smaller house or a condominium. Also, consider moving closer to family so you have a support network for the possibility of assisted living and long-term care in later years.
Make a habit of living thrifty long before you retire so you don’t notice a dramatic change in lifestyle. Learn how to prepare simpler meals, discover good values for dining out, and pursue hobbies and social engagements that don’t cost a lot of money. Spend vacation time visiting friends and family to save money on lodging and meals.
Make a proactive effort to find useful and rewarding activities to absorb your hours, like volunteering or helping a friend with their business. Another way to do this is by cutting the cable bill. Not only will you save money each month, but you’ll be forced to find healthier hobbies than watching television. Consider regular visits to the public library, long daily walks, raising a pet or taking an art or language class. If you follow a particular sport or team, find a local sports bar where you can join other fans to watch games. Staying socially active throughout retirement is one of the best ways to stay mentally and physically healthy.2
1 Greg Daugherty. Forbes. Sept. 3, 2017. “5 Ways To Retire Without Money.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/09/03/5-ways-to-retire-without-money/#148cb9c7d90a. Accessed Dec. 7, 2017.
2 Linda Blair. The Telegraph. Feb. 20, 2017. “Mind Healing: why being socially active in retirement is good for your health.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/mind-healing-socially-active-retirement-good-health/. Accessed Dec. 20, 2017.