You’ve worked hard your entire life to try and provide yourself with a retirement that concentrates on enjoying your life rather than the daily grind. Maybe you’ve even just chosen to work on your terms in a “work optional” scenario. However, now that you’re within arm’s reach of that retirement, or even in the midst of it, the thought of outliving your money may keep you awake at night.
Short of a time machine to go back a few decades and increase the amount you set aside for your own retirement, you are limited to what you can do to improve your asset base without exposing yourself to excessive risk in the markets. However, that isn’t to say that you are entirely powerless and without the ability to stretch your money further. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your retirement budget and start enjoying your golden years rather than staying up at night with worry.
Know Where You Stand
Starting a lengthy road trip without knowing how much gas you have in the tank is a great launching point for a miserable vacation. Use that same premise with your retirement budgeting to determine where you stand. Get organized and meticulously record all of your assets and debts as well as your income and expenses. Stretching your money to make sure you don’t outlive it requires a fully informed approach that is only possible once you have your proper financial bearings.
The retirement crowd is filled with empty-nesters that stay in their home long after the kids have moved out simply out of familiarity. However, once you reach that point in life, revisit your housing needs to ensure you’re not financially burdening yourself with too much house and the accompanying high utility bills, maintenance, and repairs. Depending on your equity situation, downsizing might even allow you to add to your finite asset base.
Close the Bank of Mom and Dad
This one should be much more obvious than it is. While helping your children – even once they’re adults – might be nice in theory, retirees that are trying to stretch their money as far as possible should seriously consider permanently closing the Bank of Mom and Dad. While certain circumstances might, of course, call for financial assistance, most retirement budgets simply can’t absorb grown children using their parents as ATMs. We are seeing this more and more with the student loan debt crisis.
Besides these tips, being extremely selective and frugal with entertainment and vacation spending is another budget line item that can help stretch your retirement money. However, no matter what your particular circumstances might be, do your best to find a balance between enjoying your retirement years to their fullest and being financially responsible for your own future.
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