Making Your Money Last Through Retirement
By: Joe Curotto
Retirement can be quite worrisome. But one thing you shouldn’t have to worry about are your finances. It is estimated that 22% of retirement aged Americans have less than $5,000 in their savings for retirement (4). Money should be the last thing on your mind as you enjoy the next chapter of your life. You should be worried about where you’re going on your next trip, whether you can get a tee time next Saturday, or when you’re going to get to see your grandchildren next. But if money is on your mind try using these 5 tips to make your money last through retirement.
1) Don’t Spend Too Much In Your First Few Years
According to Vanguard, you should not take out more than 5% of your retirement fund in the first year of retirement (2). That first year of spending should give you a good baseline to what you can expect in the coming years with basic expenses like food, home and car bills. This allows you to go back to your budget and see if you can start spending more money each month, or if you need to cut back. You want to be able to spend your money freely but be careful that you don’t run into problems later into retirement. There is also no shame in seeking professional advice to see where you can save money.
2) Working Part Time
According to Vanguard, working part time is a great way to keep yourself in the safe zone and give yourself less of a risk of running out of money sometime in retirement (2). Having a job on the side can also help with keeping you busy during the day and gives you well needed human interaction. This also allows you the advantage of living off the money you’re earning from your job rather than tapping into your savings. Getting a part time job isn’t supposed to be strenuous, but meant to keep you active and social in retirement and give you the advantage of making a few extra dollars to spend along the way. Bagging groceries, being a store greeter, or even becoming an Uber or Lyft driver are all stress free jobs and have flexible schedules so you can still enjoy your retirement.
3) Downsizing or Moving Into More Affordable Housing
One of the largest expenses of retirement can be owning a home. A smart thing to do is to move into a more affordable living situation. This can mean a lot of things; but a lot of retirees choose to downsize their homes so that they pay less in taxes, heating and cooling bills, and hopefully make some money selling their previous home. Moving to a smaller house isn’t just easier on your wallet it’s easier on your body as well. You don’t have to clean as many rooms and sometimes can be less stairs that you will have to climb. Moving may even bring you closer to family or to different climate that is more comfortable to live in as you enjoy your life.
4) Don’t Retire Too Early
Most Americans retire at the age of 63 (3). Waiting just a few years longer can greatly increase your sustainable standard of living according to Liz Weston (1). This is important so that you don’t run into trouble later in your retirement and find yourself running out of money. Working a few extra years gives you that security to retire comfortably. If you wait until the age of 67 then you will have the full benefits of collecting Social Security. As you do start to head toward your last days working try and reduce your “necessary” expenses. Look at how much you are spending each month on utilities, insurance, and subscriptions to see what you can cut back on and still live the life that you want to.
5) Protect Your Health
It is well known that your health may decline as you get older. A big worry for a lot of people as they age is how they are going to pay for those large medical bills. Being proactive and taking your health into your own hands is one way to try and decrease those bills. Have a yearly checkup at your doctors so that you may be able to get ahead of anything chronic and treat them early, successfully, and hopefully cheaper than waiting until it is an emergency. Some things are out of your control but living a healthier lifestyle mentally and physically will surely help.
Retirement is a time where you’re supposed to sit back relax and enjoy everything you worked so hard for. You should have to constantly worry about money and if you can afford the things you deserve. If you are though, use these tips to help make your money last.
Making Your Savings Last through Retirement. The Vanguard Group, Inc, investor.vanguard.com/retirement/income/making-savings-last.
Martin, Emmie. “Here's How Much Americans Have Saved for Retirement.” CNBC, CNBC, 26 June 2019, www.cnbc.com/2019/06/26/how-much-americans-have-saved-for-retirement.html.
Pk. “Average Retirement Age in the United States.” DQYDJ, 10 July 2019, dqydj.com/average-retirement-age-in-the-united-states/.
Weston, Liz. “Retirement Advice: 7 Ways to Make Your Money Last.” Fox Business, Fox Business, 2 July 2019, www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/retirement-advice-make-your-money-last.