When we think about frugality, many of us consider the here and now.
However, it doesn’t hurt to consider that you might need to be frugal during retirement as well.
While many of us hope to be able to forget about frugality during our golden years, the truth is that you never know what will happen in the future to create uncertainty in your finances.
It makes sense to be prepared to live frugally in retirement, if the need should arise.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind as you prepare your retirement finances:
The bigger your lifestyle in retirement, the more it will cost to maintain it.
Even if you have your home paid off, there are downsides to a larger abode. A larger house usually means higher utilities and property taxes. Additionally, you have to worry about maintenance and repairs. If your home is an older one, there is a good chance that you will need to pay for expensive repairs. And, as you age (or travel the world), you will need help keeping your home maintained, from the yard to housecleaning.
All of this costs money.
Whether you have a larger home, or multiple cars, having a bigger lifestyle can drain your nest egg. If you are concerned about how long your nest egg will last, and you want to reduce costs, one of the best ways to do so is to downsize. Consider your needs, and what your make for a comfortable retirement. Start out your retirement with a smaller lifestyle, and your frugality in this area will allow you to use your money on items that might be more important to you in the long run.
2. Reduce Your Obligations
Few things can ruin your retirement like debt.
Reduce your obligations so that you have fewer demands on your retirement income. Try to pay off credit card debt, car loans, and even your mortgage before you retire. Create a financial plan that allows you to become debt free by the time you retire.
Paying interest drains your wealth, and can lead to a less than successful retirement if you aren’t careful.
On top of that, it helps to avoid entering into long-term commitments just prior to retirement, or during retirement. Keep your finances flexible by avoiding entanglements that can tie them up.
3. Consider Which Expenses You Can Cut
Another part of frugal living — in retirement or out of retirement — is knowing which expenses you can cut.
While you don’t want to cut down to the bone if you don’t have to, you should still be prepared to make cuts. In uncertain times, it might become necessary to cut your withdrawal rate, reducing how much money you have have coming in each month. Consider, ahead of time, which items you are likely to be fine without. Prioritize your spending, and consider spending money only on the things you really need, or truly enjoy.
Indeed, your frugal retirement can ensure that your money lasts as long as you do, even if you end up needing long-term care, or you have other expensive needs. Know what’s important to you, and cut out the other items. You’ll enjoy your retirement more, and your money will go further.
4. Take Care of Your Health
No matter your age, one of the best things you can do for a frugal retirement is to take care of your health. You might want to travel in retirement, but how can you if you don’t have good health?
Health problems can also cause a lot of expense.
If you make an effort to live healthy now, eating better and exercising, chances are that you will have a less expensive retirement later. You won’t need to spend as much on prescriptions, or on doctor visits.
While there is no way to completely guarantee that you will never have sickness, or get cancer, you can reduce your chances of health problems. A healthy body is a less expensive body, and as you age your health becomes more important. Your money will last longer if you have better health. Do what you can to stay as active as possible, and stave off disease through better lifestyle choices.
5. Look for Other Sources of Income
You can improve your retirement finances with the help of alternative income sources. Consider building an income portfolio right now, so that it is there later.
You can also consider part-time work during retirement. Many seniors feel lost when they quit their jobs. You can assuage these feelings with a part-time job that can also help you reduce your reliance on your nest egg.
There are also other options, such as the Peace Corps, and other programs that can provide you with the opportunity for frugal travel and living, as well as (possibly) a small stipend. Consider these types of options, as they can help you save (and even earn) money while still enjoying a fulfilling retirement.