6 Ways to Make Your Retirement Savings Last Longer
Women over 60 are facing a unique set of challenges as we enter the traditional “retirement” years. We are living longer than ever before, and we have more interests and life goals (and we have more energy and freedom to pursue them) than many previous generations of women had at this age.
These are all “good problems” to have. The question is: how are we going to afford to pay for all of it?
Long life is a blessing, but no one wants to outlive her retirement savings. Enjoying an active, adventurous retirement is a dream come true – but pursuing an adventurous life in retirement can become quite costly.
So how can an active, adventurous woman over 60 make her money last longer? Here are a few ideas…
Take Control of Your Health
One of the biggest expenses for retirees is medical costs. While some of these costs are inevitable due to the complexities of getting older, there are many things that we can do to take control of our health by improving our diet, exercising regularly, managing our stress levels and maintaining an active social life. Losing weight and eating healthier can often complement our efforts to save money.
Going for a bike ride every day costs less money than going to the mall. Cooking healthy meals at home often costs much less money than eating at restaurants. Making changes in your lifestyle can often “kill two birds with one stone” by eliminating wasteful spending while also improving your overall health.
Look for Discounts
We are living in a Golden Age of frugal shopping. Online daily deal sites like livingsocial.com and Groupon.com make it easy to get amazing discounts every day via e-mail – you can often get massive discounts (50% off of more) on restaurant dinners, massages, fitness classes, travel packages, and many other “experience-based” goods and services. couponmom.com offers free online coupons to help dramatically reduce your grocery bills.
Make More Money
Women over 60 are in the prime time of life to start a “side hustle” or side business, even while you’re still working at a traditional job. One of the best ways to make your retirement savings last longer is to add more money to the nest egg. And if you’re able-bodied and energetic and willing to work a bit, why not use your skills, talents and network of connections to earn some extra cash in retirement?
Track Your Spending
Take a hard look at your overall lifestyle – how are you spending your money? Where does it all go? Many people spend money almost unconsciously, making impulse purchases and falling into patterns such that they don’t really understand where their money is going. You can sign up for Mint.com, a free service that lets you track your spending online, to find out how much you’re spending on various categories like Groceries, Fast Food, Restaurants, Bars, Shopping, and more.
Once you’ve tracked your expenses for a few months, you’ll be better able to spot patterns and understand which changes you need to make.
Can you spend less money on restaurant meals by cooking at home? Can you get a cheaper mobile phone service? (It’s often cheaper to buy a phone and sign up for a prepaid mobile plan, rather than getting a contract.) Are you paying too much money on monthly fees for your bank accounts? Do you have a membership at a gym or club that you never go to? Could you live without cable TV?
Re-evaluate your insurance policies. Now that you’re over 60, you might not need to keep spending money on life insurance every month. Shop around for discounts on car insurance and home insurance – you might save some money by switching insurance companies.
There are many ways to eliminate unnecessary spending from your monthly budget, often without compromising on any of the things you love to do.
Downsize to a Smaller Home
Are you still living in a large house that was better suited to your childrearing years, but has started to feel more like a “prison” than a castle?
Many women over 60 dream of getting rid of their daily “to-do” list that goes along with maintaining a big house. And hopefully, if you’ve owned your house for awhile, you’ve built up some equity and will make a decent profit if you decide to sell.
Selling your house and downsizing into a smaller house, apartment or condominium is often an great way to add a significant chunk of money to your retirement savings, while also saving money on monthly expenses such as property tax, home heating and cooling, home repairs and maintenance.
Plus, by downsizing your home, you’ll be saving valuable time on chores and gaining wonderful freedom to spend more time on hobbies, exercise, social life and other interests.
What small changes have you made recently to improve your financial situation? What advice would you give to one of your friends who are struggling with money right now?
There are several benefits to downsizing in retirement and some of them may even surprise you. Watch my interview with Dr. Dale Atkins for more information.