Retirement Savings

How To Keep Saving Money After Retirement

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Retirement is a big transition, no matter how prepared you might be. Along with the adjustment of having more free time on your hands comes the reality of living on a fixed income. It can be a real shock sometimes. In fact, a survey by RBC Insurance Services found that 60% of retirees worry about outliving their retirement savings. Additionally, about 45% don’t feel confident they’ll be able to afford the post-work lifestyle they want.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to keep saving money after retirement without sacrificing too much of the lifestyle you enjoy. You shouldn’t consider leaving the workforce the moment in your life that you stop saving money and start spending your retirement funds. Instead, take these steps to continue saving money into your golden years. Here are seven ways you can save money in retirement and still live comfortably.

Downsize

Downsizing doesn’t only refer to a house. There are many ways in which you can downsize your life in retirement. Sure, you might want to move into a smaller home. But you can also go from two cars to one if it suits your lifestyle. You’ll save lots on gas and insurance.

Similarly, maybe you and your spouse don’t each need a cellphone. You could keep one and share it, cutting down on expensive telecom bills. (Not to mention those costly device upgrades every couple of years). Downsizing aspects of your life can be applied in multiple ways.

Do you still need three television sets in the house now that the kids have moved out? Sell one. How many computers or tablets do you have? Time to finally get rid of that landline? Take a good look at your life and your habits. You’ll be surprised at how many things you can cancel and save money on. Keep in mind that once you’re retired (assuming it’s only you and your spouse at home), you likely will only need one of everything. Not two.

Pay Off Debts

There’s a strong benefit to paying off debts before you’re retired. It will free up money that can be used for more important things than servicing loans – such as groceries and travel. When you’re not making regular repayments, you will wind up with more disposable income. While this may seem obvious, a shocking number of people are carrying hefty amounts of debt in retirement.

According to the Credit Counseling Society, the average person over age 65 today is carrying $30,752 in personal debt. That includes credit cards and lines of credit. That amount can cost as much as $500 a month in payments on the interest and principal. That’s $6,000 a year that you could put towards more worthwhile things! While it may seem difficult to buckle down and get your debt paid off, do the math. Think of how much further ahead you’ll be if you get the debt burden off your back. If you are planning to retire with some outstanding debt, getting rid of it quickly should be a major priority.

Get A Side Hustle

If you find that you need more money in retirement, consider earning a little extra cash. We’re not suggesting you go back to work full-time. That defeats the purpose of retiring altogether. But consider a part-time job, or what the kids today call a “side hustle.”

It doesn’t need to be stressful. We’re not suggesting you rejoin the rat race. By side hustle, we’re referring to easy jobs that provide a little extra money without taking up too much of your time or stressing you out. Consider walking dogs, becoming a crossing guard, working as a Marshall at your local golf course, or greeting people at Walmart. You could drive for a ridesharing company and make your own hours.

These aren’t glamorous jobs, but who cares? They aren’t stressful and will only take up a little bit of your time. They will provide you with some extra money to supplement your retirement savings. Even if you earn minimum wage and only work 15-to-20 hours a week, that’s spending money in your pocket.

Adjust Your Insurance Policies

Insurance is expensive. Home, auto, and life insurance policies all add up. Combined, they likely cost you a bundle each month — $500 or more. However, as you grow older, your insurance needs change. You should adjust accordingly.

For example, you probably don’t need major life insurance policies anymore. Your children are grown, with incomes of their own. If your mortgage is paid off, you don’t need to worry about that either. Consider reducing your coverage in exchange for a lower monthly premium. Likewise, you should think about cancelling any life insurance policies you had on your children. Once they become adults, they can get their own insurance.

If you go down to one car, you automatically save money by only needing to insure one vehicle. Even if you keep two cars, try to negotiate a new rate based on your age, safe driving record, and the fact that you don’t commute to work every day. If you drive less than you used to, you should be able to pay less too. Evaluate where you’re at in your life as you enter retirement. Then make the needed changes to your insurance policies. Your wallet will thank you.

Prioritize Your Activities

Just because you have more time on your hands doesn’t mean you have to take on more activities. In fact, you may want to scale back on many of the activities you paid to do while working. It becomes a matter of prioritizing. For example, are you really an avid golfer that benefits from an annual membership? Or are you an occasional golfer who would be better off paying the walk-on fee when you play a round here and there?

Do you really need that expensive gym membership? You could just jog outside, join a less expensive gym, or invest in a treadmill for your house. Now that you’re retired, do you still need three streaming services at home? Could you live with only one? Maybe coordinate with your friends and family to share logins instead.

What about activities that barely cost any money at all? Maybe you could start gardening, fishing, or hiking? Our point is that you can find many ways to keep yourself busy and engaged in retirement without spending a lot of money. It doesn’t have to always be exotic vacations and fancy restaurants. You need to be smart now that you’re living on a fixed income.

Sell Some Stuff

By the time you reach retirement, you’ve probably accumulated a lifetime of stuff. Chances are, you don’t need most of it anymore. In fact, there’s probably a basement or garage full of stuff that you never even think about. While you may be tempted to view this stuff as junk, you should remember that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

There have never been more ways to sell things you no longer want, need, or use. Not only are there a number of brick-and-mortar consignment stores still around, but you can also sell items online. Use a community like eBay, Kijiji, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace to list and sell items without having to leave your house!

The money made from selling unwanted household items can add up quickly. Whether you’re selling old clothes, furniture, small appliances, or electronics, it’s time to turn your old belongings into usable cash. Plus, it has the added bonus of decluttering your house.

Take Advantage Of Senior Discounts

If there’s one big advantage to becoming a senior citizen, it’s the multitude of discounts offered. Seniors discounts can be found just about everywhere – from restaurants and hotels, to movie theaters and bus passes. Seniors almost always pay less.

Don’t be shy about pulling out your identification and revealing your true age. Ask if there’s a senior’s discount everywhere you go. Take advantage of it when there is. This isn’t about swallowing your pride or facing your inevitable mortality. It’s about saving some cash!

Seriously, you need to take advantage of the discounts you’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work. Every dollar you save is money that prolongs the comfort of your retirement. You have no idea how long you’re going to live, so why not plan for the best-case scenario of a long, happy, and healthy retirement? These dollars add up, so be sure to save them whenever and wherever you can. Besides, who doesn’t like a discount – at any age!

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Riley Adams, CPA

Riley Adams, CPA

Riley is a San Francisco-based senior financial analyst and CPA at Google who also runs the personal finance site, Young and the Invested. He and his wife have one child together and all three enjoy exploring the outdoors of Northern California. Previously, he worked for a public utility in New Orleans for six years after graduating from Penn State University with his M.S. in Applied Economics and Demography.

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