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Cost-Effective Ways To Enjoy Retirement

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This post was contributed to Leisure Freak by personal finance blogger Ted James.

Approximately 22% of Americans have less than $5,000 saved for retirement, according to a study cited by The Motley Fool. Additionally, 15% have no retirement savings at all. If you have very modest savings or none at all, you’ll need to live off your Social Security benefit during retirement. While the amount you’ll receive depends on your work record, the average monthly Social Security benefit was $1,509 in 2021. But you can still enjoy your golden years if you follow these tips, presented below.

Cost-Effective Ways To Enjoy Retirement

Photo Credit: Cottonbro via Pexels

Create a Budget

To create a budget, such as one following the 50/30/20 rule, first determine your fixed monthly expenses. These include your mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries and loans, and credit cards. You can’t eliminate these expenses, but you can reduce their payments. Try refinancing your loan for a lower rate, reducing utility usage, or negotiating a lower interest rate on your credit card.

Mixed Up Money notes that the most challenging part of creating a budget is finding ways to cut back on nonessential expenses because they’re difficult to track. These expenses can include dining out, buying gifts, taking vacations, and purchasing magazine subscriptions. Keep receipts and check your bank and credit card statements to see where you’re spending. 

Perhaps the most important aspect of your budget is planning for your retirement goals. You can be doing fine right now with your budget, but have you factored in the cost of retirement living or travel? When creating this document, project for the future. What income will you have after age 65? What are your primary goals once you retire, and how much will they cost to achieve? Once you factor in these components, you will be budgeting for more than now – you’ll be budgeting for your retirement.

Downsize

Downsizing means less maintenance and lower bills. It also allows you to find a property better suited to your needs as you age. Furthermore, if your home has increased in value over the years and your mortgage is almost or entirely paid off, downsizing to a cheaper property may leave you with a lot of equity. 

However, there are some potential disadvantages to downsizing. These include:

  • Fewer belongings. Some people get emotionally attached to particular items and may find it difficult to part with them.
  • No room for overnight guests. Family members who’ve stayed over in the past may now have to book into a hotel when they visit.
  • Lack of privacy. Smaller and fewer rooms make it difficult to get away from other family members when you want time alone.
  • Less recognition. Some people are more concerned with how others perceive them than with comfort and may find that moving to a smaller property doesn’t project the image of success

If you choose to downsize, you can also decide whether you want to sell your larger home or rent it. This decision will likely come down to money. Can you rent the property for more than you owe on it each month? If not, are you willing to break even in order to keep the equity? Or do you need the money in hand right now that would be available through a sale? 

Take in a Lodger

Taking in a lodger can help with expenses. Unlike tenants, lodgers are easier to evict should any problems occur. Lodgers also provide extra security for your home, particularly when you’re away. Check out the short-term rental laws in your area before considering renting a room to a lodger.

Part-time Work

Earn extra cash by freelancing to meet expenses and boost your bank account. One increasingly popular job is becoming a medical coder. In addition to performing critical behind-the-scenes tasks like accurately documenting patient data, medical coders determine a patient’s diagnosis and any procedures performed. By taking medical coding courses online, you’re equipped to learn industry standards, including how to use the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System, (HCPCS) and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. 

Whatever type of work you pick up, if you decide to start a business using your skills, forming an LLC gives you tax advantages, flexibility, limited liability, and less paperwork. Avoid expensive lawyer fees by filling out the paperwork yourself or using a formation service. Check out your state’s rules for forming an LLC before proceeding, as they differ from state to state. 

Less Stress and More Enjoyment

Having a fixed income in your golden years doesn’t mean you have to worry about finances. Taking steps, such as budgeting, downsizing, working part-time, or taking in a lodger, can make your later years less stressful and more enjoyable.

Much thanks to Ted James for contributing this article that shares cost-effective ways to enjoy retirement.

Author Bio:

Ted James is a husband, father, dog owner, and rock climber living in the Pacific Northwest who devotes a large chunk of his time helping people get back in the driver’s seat of their finances. He created his site, Ted Knows Money, to share money tips and help people get complete control of their finances.

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