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April 18, 2016

How to Save Money During Retirement

Financial circumstances evolve naturally over time, as priorities and resources shift during your lifetime. As a young person you may focus on buying a home, for instance, striving to put aside cash for a down payment. With parenthood on the horizon, would-be moms and dads kick earning into high gear, supporting the financial needs of growing families.

As children age, college costs become a priority, drawing resources from the family nest egg to ensure each family member can afford to pay for school. Later, as retirement nears, financial priorities once again change for earners preparing to leave the workforce. For many retirees, the financial shake-up of stepping-down from the job leaves a financial hole to be filled. Pensions, Social Security payments, investments and other resources aimed at retirement may be adequate to cover regular monthly expenses, but without a steady paycheck coming in, retirement years can be plagued by financial uncertainty.

Fortunately, common sense money saving opportunities furnish relief for seniors, in the form of discounts, promotions, and frugal choices. If you've recently stepped away from full-time employment or see retirement in your immediate future, use cash-conscious methods to set the stage for affordable living.

Planning Shifts As Years Add Up

Throughout your life, each pressing need shapes your approach to money management. As the cost of living rises and extraordinary expenses ebb and flow, you find ways to make ends meet - sometimes against all odds. And when financial fortunes are flush, you relish the opportunity to save money for the future.

With decades of experience under your belt, by the time you reach retirement age, you've taken-on considerable financial savvy managing bills and household finances. As you step down from your job, however, your ongoing monetary needs can be hard to define. How long will you live? How much will things cost in the future? Can you count on your investments to yield steady returns?

Without precise answers to these and other questions about your financial future, planning can feel like a shot in the dark. Fortunately, with the help of retirement professionals, you can confidently assess your tax situation and other financial matters, before plotting the most cost-effective course available. In the meantime, simply strategies conserve precious resources, so retirement is a time to rethink spending and evaluate your financial priorities. Get started today!

Establish Good Investments - Regardless of your age, investing is an integral part of good financial health. As you age, resist the urge to become overly conservative with your resources. Instead, hold some reserves in cash and bonds, but also speculate for higher returns, in more aggressive stocks and funds. Annuities and other financial vehicles may also be appropriate, so your financial advisor should be prepared to discuss all your options.

Make the Most of Senior Discounts - Until you are old enough to take advantage of the generous offers extended to seniors, it is hard to believe how widespread retiree discounts have become. From movies, to services like haircuts and manicures, your senior status entitles you to countless benefits. As you settle-in to retirement, take advantage of the best deals on meals and other things you need. You'll save substantial sums and stretch your income to its limits.

Use Credit Wisely - Fixed incomes don't have much wiggle room, so unanticipated expenses can really rock the boat for seniors with limited resources. Ideally, your retirement nest egg includes an emergency fund, to cover mechanical breakdowns, car repairs, medical bills and other major expenses. However, when cash on hand isn't sufficient to cover a particular expense, you may need a loan. When financing is needed, compare various options and consider your circumstances, before settling on a funding source. Are you experiencing a brief financial shortfall, easily repaid in short order? Or do you need a long-term line of credit, with flexible repayment terms? By selecting the best loan for your needs, you'll quickly wipe away the debt and pay the smallest possible share of interest.

Downsize Your Home and/or Car - As lifestyles evolve, so do the demands of aging families, no longer in need of some material possessions. As your retirement budget comes into focus, a major financial asset may become a liability.

Your large home, for instance, even though paid-for, may require costly upkeep and expensive tax payments. By scaling-back to a smaller property or leaving the ranks of home ownership, altogether, you may be able to shave sizable sums from your monthly housing budget.

Upon retirement, without a daily commute, your driving habits change, calling for fewer miles traveled. Your vehicle may also reflect a different time, when all the passenger seats were full. As your transportation requirements transform from daily driver to occasional use, updating your car may be the most cost-effective way to stay on the road.

A fuel-efficient car not only saves on gas, but may also be cheaper to insure than a full-size family car. Despite the uncertainties of retirement finances, frugal choices help ease monetary concerns. Changing your cost of living, for instance, with a cheaper home or car, can trim costs, as well as senior discounts and promotions for retirees.

If you are nearing retirement age, consult with an investment professional. Not only can these advisors spell-out funding options for retirement, but they'll also offer insight about using credit wisely.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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