When planning for retirement, your predicted monthly budget becomes the central calculation factor. Tools like budget calculators and spreadsheets help approximate the amount of money you’ll need to live on each year. Knowing this can be a comfort to seniors who are worried their comfortable familiar lifestyles might be unsustainable in retirement. Unfortunately, all too often we tend to underestimate the true costs of living. While it’s true you may be able to slip by most months paying little more than groceries, utilities, and any remaining home costs; but there will also always be months when you go over-budget.
The key to a happy relaxed retirement is remembering to calculate for annual, impulse, opportunity, emergency, and recreational spending as well as the basics. The basics are great and establish a baseline for your budget; but don’t forget all the little things which can either be a fun dip into your copious ‘extras’ budget or a stress-inducing overage.
Home and Garden Retirement Planning
Calculating for a bare-bones monthly and annual budget almost always leaves out considerations for home upkeep. Even if your budget tool mentions maintenance, few people know how much they spend on maintenance per month. Most issues are yearly or possibly even less but you don’t want to be caught off-guard by a few roof repairs after the storm season or annually changing the household filters.
Replacing Aging Infrastructure
Of course, one of the specific risks for seniors who are planning retirement in the family home is that appliances have lifespans which are usually much shorter than the lifespan of the house itself. Your AC, water heater, kitchen appliances, or washer/dryer may eventually give up the ghost during your retirement; it’s important to have at least a small supply of backup funds for replacement and installation.
For most retirees, you either care about landscaping and gardening or you don’t. If you care, always calculate for annual/quarterly landscaping services to accommodate your desire for a beautifully designed outdoor area. But even if you don’t care about landscaping, don’t forget to calculate for the $20 a week to pay a local teenager to mow your lawn.
Help Around the House
Home care is something that many seniors forget to consider but eventually need. If you plan to ‘age in place’ (not downsize or move to a retirement community), then in-home care and assistance is likely to be one of your later life expenses that few seniors calculate for.
Lifestyle Retirement Planning
Professional life is often riddled with takeout, fast food, and after work dinners at restaurants that become an unnoticed part of the lifestyle. You may not think about your restaurant habit while working as an important part of enjoying retirement but most retirees like to go out at least a few times a month. Keep this in mind when considering your monthly recreational spend.
Children grow out of their clothes and need new clothing all the time. Working adults need to update their wardrobes from time to time for work, but after retirement it’s easy to forget that clothes wear out and eventually need to be replaced. Unfortunately, clothing is not yet free and can take a serious bite out of your budget if unexpected.
Hobbies and Recreation
Seniors also often forget to calculate for their own desire for entertainment and recreation. You think to yourself “Between the house and groceries, I can live on $____ a month, easily!” and then you find yourself at home, spending no money but bored out of your skull. This is why seniors have hobbies, communities, and events to keep them busy but these too are not free.
And, of course, we can’t forget the surprise medical expenses. Depending on the quality of your healthcare, the upstanding reliability of your insurer, and the specific medical problems you develop, you may or may not have medical expenses already covered. Don’t get caught completely off-guard by rising premiums or selective-coverage policies. Consider building an emergency fund and upgrading your medical coverage to whatever makes the most long-term sense for you.[Continued in Part 2]
For more financial insights or guidance on selecting the optimal financial management for your retirement plans, contact us today!