Once someone retires, they may have limited financial resources. Even with a nice retirement fund built up over the years, care must be taken to manage to ensure an adequate income. Anyone living on a tight budget can find it difficult to afford unexpected expenses. However, it’s possible to live well on a fixed income.
Begin Early to Plan the Retirement Budget
It’s best to begin before retirement to determine future budget needs. However, any time is a good time to reassess expenses and figure out where the senior can cut down. Write down all living expenses and determine which expenses are necessities and which are optional. This can be more complicated than one might think, since many people view luxuries as necessities. For instance, cable TV isn’t a necessity, but for seniors who have limited mobility, it may become more important.
After Retirement Consider Moving
Maintaining a home is one of the most expensive tasks a person is faced with. Seniors who live on a fixed income may not be able to afford to deal with costs involved in replacing a furnace or repairing water leaks. Even someone who is still in good health and active may want to consider selling the home and moving into an apartment in order to live maintenance-free.
Many places include utilities in the cost of rent, which makes it easier to predict a monthly budget. Utility costs and other expenses will also be lower in a small place designed for one or two people, instead of a larger house where they raised a family. Another cost they won’t have is homeowner’s insurance. Renter’s insurance is only a fraction of the cost of homeowner’s.
Retirees May Need to Learn to Look for Free or Cheap
People who were busy with jobs and had plenty of money to spend may not have spent time clipping coupons or looking for special deals. However, this task becomes more important when you only have a limited amount of money.
Seniors can look for free items and other ways to save, which allows them to manage their money more effectively. For instance, they can stop the magazine subscription and pick up free copies from the library. They can also enjoy DVDs and CDs instead of paying for cable or satellite radio.
Saving coupons is still a good way to cut food costs. Internet-savvy seniors can find coupons online for items bought regularly, which will save them time as well as money.
Work to Stay Healthy After You Retire
Health care costs can drastically cut into the budget, and a health crisis can quickly deplete savings. Start out retirement (and even before) with healthy habits. A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of many diseases, particularly those that are chronic in nature. Not only does this prevent health emergencies but may reduce the need for expensive prescription medications.
Steps to maintain a healthy life include the following:
- Eating nutritious meals
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Exercising regularly
- Spending time with family and friends
- Keeping the mind active
Those who set up a lifetime habit of saving money on a regular basis should continue doing so. Seniors who continue putting a portion of their income aside in savings will reap the benefits. Even if the amount is small, it can help them pay for an unexpected expense or enjoy life when an opportunity for a vacation or other event comes along. It can also provide peace of mind, knowing there’s something set aside for “a rainy day.”
Living on a fixed income doesn’t have to mean living poorly or doing without. By planning ahead and making the right decisions, seniors can live happy, healthy lives on their limited income, no matter what it might be.