It is widely written that you need 75% of your present income to maintain your present life-style in retirement. If you make 100 thousand now, figure 75 thousand in retirement.
Fifty thousand now, figure 37.5 thousand in retirement. The average retirement income in the US is 27 thousand. See what you think after reading these ideas.
Some really significant expenses you won't have in retirement:
1. Life insurance. Usually paid up by now or it has run its course. Also there is little need for it. No premiums to pay.
2. Mortgage payments. Houses are usually paid off by now.
3. Child-rearing expenses. A big one. Unless you got a really late start.
4. College costs. You saved for it and then paid for it over many years. See #3.
5. Work expenses. Transportation, clothing, lunches, etc.
6. Large house. Selling and moving into smaller digs can add significantly to your nest-egg and reduce expenses for taxes, maintenance, insurance and utilities. A reverse double whammy for this one.
7. Automobile expense. It/they should be paid off and might be used less.
8. Credit card payments. Most everybody has learned by this time not to have this debt.
9. Some people move to an area where the cost of living is very significantly lower.
10. Last and this is my favorite. You don't have to save for retirement anymore!
Jot down a figure for each one and see what you get.
These are some further considerations that might reduce your expenses. Where is it written that you won't want to change your life-style at all? After all as we get older our tastes change, often towards those activities that cost less and we appreciate simpler things.
A walk on the beach or in the quiet woods, in the morning sun or even in a light rain can be as enjoyable as anything. Some of the best things in life really are free. A cold winter evening by a warm fire with a great book (free from the library), a visit with the grandchildren and pulling vine-ripened tomatoes from your own plants are more examples of inexpensive activities. Who needs a riotous evening in a nightclub or an expensive day at a casino?
Linger over coffee and the newspaper in the morning, have breakfast with friends, take a little nap in the afternoon or day trips to attractions like museums, planetariums and nature exhibits. Aren't there things you always thought you might like to do and explore like writing, playing music, dancing, sports (non-contact) and crafts and hobbies? These need not cost a lot.
Also remember you are free to take advantage of early-bird specials, two-for-one nights and eating out at lunchtime instead of dinner. These can save as much as half on restaurant bills. Don't forget senior citizen discounts, either.
What might cost more now that you are older? Health care, of course. Putting these in table form:
1. Health insurance premiums. Mainly Medicare supplemental insurance. Figure 2000 dollars and up.
2. Prescription drug costs, both premiums for insurance and out of pocket expense. Most medications not yet off patent (have no generic) are 800 to 1200 dollars a year each. The arithmetic here is easy.
3. General out-of-pocket expense.
4. Long term care or nursing home care. Premiums for insurance if you elect to buy it, although the jury is still out on whether or not you should according to a leading consumer's magazine. The biggest expense of all is nursing home care if you have no insurance. People who have good support can often remain at home for a long time utilizing home care facilities, which costs a lot less.
Naturally every situation is different. Hopefully these thoughts will help you in your calculations. If you add up all that you don't have to pay and what you can reasonably expect to pay and can avoid a long nursing home stay you may need less than you thought.
A recent article in Money magazine had a good idea. During the last year before retirement, try to live on what you expect to have, pretend to be retired. If it is comfortable, you are probably good to go.
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