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In our adult years, we work toward building wealth that will last for a lifetime – but how long will that be? Even if you are eligible for a state pension, it may not be enough to make ends meet during a retirement that could last 20 years or longer. Here are a few ways to stretch your dollars so that you can live your best life in your golden years.
Downsizing Where You Live
If you bought a large home in which to raise your family, it might make sense to downsize now that the kids have moved out. Your home’s equity, which you can calculate by subtracting what you owe from its current value, can make a nice investment in a smaller place with money left over for your current living expenses. An experienced real estate agent will know your current home’s value and has an up-to-date listing of homes to show you that are in your price range and will work well for your needs.
Look for senior-specific savings opportunities.
Once you reach your retirement years, you may become eligible for things like discounts at the grocery store or car rental shop. But there are other ways that your age can patch your pocketbook. According to Money Saving Expert, some government programs can help you save money on your energy bills, home improvements, and utilities. You can cut your transportation expenses by moving to a walkable area where shops, restaurants and other services are close by. Shopping thrift stores has become chic in recent days, so definitely take advantage of that, and many of them offer senior discounts!
America The Beautiful National Parks and Recreation Lands Senior Pass is $80 for a lifetime pass or $20 for an annual pass. If you don’t want to purchase a pass, look for days during the year when some of the parks are free to enter.
You might consider taking in a roommate or looking for a roommate situation with someone you know and feel comfortable living with. Having someone outside the family help to share home expenses is called “house hacking.” It’s a new name for a practice that has been going on for ages – from Molly’s Boarding House to modern-day AirBNB scenarios. I offer a course and private and group coaching that helps you explore the most appropriate, and comfortable, way for you to share your home.
Get the most interest.
If you are operating on a tight budget but have money in savings, look for an account with a high interest rate. Interest is a small stipend the bank pays you to essentially pool your funds with other savers to be used by borrowers. Pay close attention to the minimum and maximum amount of money you need to earn the best interest rate and make sure that you won’t be faced with withdrawal penalties or monthly fees if you need to access your cash.
Go out for free.
Enjoy life, don’t lock yourself up at home. Get together with your friends and think of ways that you can enjoy time together without reaching for your debit card. You can rotate who hosts weekly game nights, and you can all pitch in for food delivery. Many towns have Senior Centers that offer entertainment, exercise classes and more. Most don’t require that you live in that town so get the calendars of several senior centers in your area. Make friends with people who live in senior housing communities. They often have activities that are open to the public or to friends of residents.
Living on a limited income means that you may have to make some tweaks to your finances to continue to enjoy your historical quality of life. While this might sound daunting in the beginning, know that you will eventually acclimate, and you may find that your lifestyle choices now not only save you money but also offer a fun challenge and some new ideas! From going back to work to taking advantage of free attractions in your area, the tips above can help you find the silver lining and avoid a cash crunch in your golden years.
We're grateful to Mary Shannon of SeniorsMeet.org for sharing this great information.