For many people, the cost of living will decrease in retirement – but even so, none of us want to be stuck with too little savings in our golden years. Here are some strategies to work toward that could help you live on less money in retirement, and maybe even retire sooner.
Live on Less
The fewer expenses and responsibilities you have, the easier and more affordable your retirement life. Consider some luxuries you value now but may not need when you won’t be working anymore, like a regular housekeeper, eating out every week or maintaining multiple vehicles. You could also start living on less now by creating a budget and trying to eliminate as much unnecessary spending as you can.
Pay Off Your Home Loan
Think of how much of your budget is made up of housing costs. Eliminating your mortgage can remove a sizable monthly bill. Even though you will still have home-associated costs (think maintenance and property taxes), you greatly decrease the amount of money you need each month to pay for a roof over your head.
Downsize or Relocate
Once your children are living out on their own or you start traveling more frequently, you may want to consider moving into a smaller home in a less-expensive neighborhood or an area with a lower cost of living. It can be a good idea to consider moving somewhere more affordable and using the proceeds from your home sale to enhance your nest egg.
Minimize Health Care Costs
As you get older, it is inevitable that your health costs will increase. Just how much they will be can be very difficult to predict. One of the best things you can do to prepare is to try and live a healthy lifestyle — quit smoking, eat healthy and exercise. Then, in retirement, you will want to really do your research to make sure you are making the best choices when it comes to health insurance. This can include buying a supplemental policy to help fill in the gaps that Medicare doesn’t cover. It’s also a good idea to evaluate your policies every year to be sure you are still getting the right coverage for your family.
Trim Your Tax Bill
In retirement, you can space out your withdrawals from 401(k) and individual retirement accounts to avoid a large tax bill in just one year. Also, if you believe you are in a lower tax bracket now, you may want to put some of your retirement savings into a Roth IRA, where you pay taxes on the money now instead of when you withdraw it. You can also convert some traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. Lastly, it’s important to make sure you time savings withdrawals so that you do not face penalties or fees for taking withdrawals too early or too late.
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