Showing posts with label retirement budget. Show all posts
Showing posts with label retirement budget. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Budgeting for Senior Citizens - How To Stay on Top of Your Finances!

This month we are fortunate to have a guest post by Roni David with excellent suggestions on managing our money as we age.  It is very timely because just this week I was speaking to a friend who lost her husband a few months ago.  He had always handled their finances, and she told me she had no idea how to set up a budget so she could comfortably be assured that her money would last the rest of her life.  

I worked with my friend that afternoon to help her set up a budget and suggested she speak with a money manager to get more details about her IRA and other finances. The next day she told me she had already taken some actions to get her finances in order.  This woman is 80 years old, which proves that you are never too old to learn something new, including how to budget.

Below is the article by Roni Davis. Check it out and see if her post can help you do a better job of managing your own money and, hopefully, avoiding a late-in-life bankruptcy.  It is never too late!

How to Budget for Seniors

As a senior, you probably don’t have the influx of cash that you once had before retirement. Whether you are living off of savings or receiving payments in another form such as a pension or Social Security, you only have a certain amount of money to work with each month. Budgeting is a great way to keep track of your spending to ensure that you do not live outside of your means while enjoying retirement.

Why Should Seniors Budget?

Budgeting is important for anyone, but it can be especially important in retirement. Without a budget, you could lose track of your spending and exhaust a lot of what you have saved. In some cases, seniors can even go into debt because they have not budgeted their money properly. Here are the main reasons why budgeting is important for seniors.

Limited Income

Some people have the luxury of saving a lot throughout their life so that when they retire they have plenty to live off of. However, for some people, this is not an option and, in retirement, they have a small amount of money to work with. Many seniors live primarily on Social Security, which doesn’t pay very generously, forcing them to live on a very limited income.

This can be a huge transition from a lifestyle where you receive a paycheck each week and, if seniors do not budget properly, they may find themselves spending more than they have.

Get help with a Budget Planner (Ad)

Expenses Can Change

As with anyone, expenses change over time. Your housing payment may go up, or your bills can go down. The difference for seniors, however, is that the consequences of expenses changing for the worst can be much more serious. Most seniors do not have the ability to increase their income by changing jobs or picking up extra shifts. Budgeting is crucial to avoid this issue, so that if expenses do change there will be a sufficient amount saved.
Seniors Cannot Afford Debt

When you fall into debt early in life, it isn’t great, but you also have the means to pull yourself out of it. Additionally, when you are in debt in your 20s or 30s, you have years ahead of you to pay it off. On the other hand, seniors do not have this ability, and depending on the extent of their debt, they can take it to the end of their life. While you may be wondering why it would matter if they are not going to be made to pay it off, this can seriously affect any inheritance they want to leave behind. You certainly do not want to leave your grandchildren finances which are on the brink of bankruptcy

How to Budget as a Senior

If you are approaching retirement, or know a loved one who could use some budgeting tips, here are some easy ways to start:

Make A Monthly Expenses Worksheet

The first step to any budgeting plan is to figure out how much you spend each month. This is important because it tells you how much you are going to absolutely need for each month. This is also a good time to examine whether any of your spending needs to be cut back. For example, if you are paying to live in a senior living community, this could take up a large portion of your budget. In this case, you could look for a different, less expensive place to live.
Take a Look at Yearly Expenses

Not all of your expenses will be the same each month. Some of your utilities will cost more at certain times of the year, especially during the summer and winter months. During these times you will probably run your heat and air conditioning more often, which is going to drive up the cost. When you are creating your basic budget, you need to factor in these changes, especially if there is a large difference during certain months.
Choose Your Insurance Well

Insurance premiums can be paid on installment plans, whether it is monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually. Therefore, depending on the cash flow that you have, spacing your payments out in a certain way might be better for you. This would give you the time you need to make sure you save enough over the course of several months to pay for it at each installment.

Paying for your insurance annually does require you to spend a lot of money at once, but generally this is the cheaper way to go. This includes premiums for car insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and homeowners insurance.  Just make sure you are putting aside enough money monthly to make the payments when they come due.

Account for Leisure Expenses

When you create your budget you should include more than just your necessary expenses like housing, food, insurance, and more. You should also account for the things that you purchase as luxuries, including shopping for yourself and others, travel, and personal care. This is  a good area to cut back, if you find that your spending is exceeding a reasonable amount each month. 

If you plan to take cruses or expensive vacations, you should include these kinds of expenses in your budget and plan for them. Overall, the more you include in your budget, the more prepared you will be for the future.

About the Author:

Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.

* * * * * * * * *

One option many people are discovering, which could help their budget efforts, is to earn extra money in retirement by opening a small home business.  They might do tutoring, give piano lessons, become a tax preparer, or almost anything that appeals to them.  Some people, like the author of this blog, are opening small home businesses such as my Etsy store, DeborahDianGifts, (Ad) where I sell hundreds of jewelry selections and other gift items.  

Whatever you decide to do to supplement your retirement income, it is important to realize that Social Security rarely provides all the income you will need in retirement.  You need to plan well in advance how you will support yourself.

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If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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Photo credits:  Roni Davis, Amazon, Pixabay and DeborahDianGifts on Etsy

Saturday, September 5, 2020

"The Senior Years Master Plan" is an Excellent Guidebook for Later Life

Many of us try to block out the fact that we are aging. As we approach our 50s and 60s, we may become even more determined to ignore the reality facing us. One reason is that we can become simply overwhelmed by all the different issues we have to consider.  Where should we live? How much money will we need?  How can we generate income which will last the rest of our lives? How can we manage our health, our illnesses and, ultimately, our deaths? There are so many things to think about, it can seem easier to procrastinate about doing anything.
As a result, I was curious when the author of "The Senior Years Master Plan", Ralph Mroz, contacted me about his book. (Ad) After reading it, I was impressed by the comprehensive way it brought up virtually every issue people need to consider, ideally before they actually retire.  However, even if you have already retired, there are some great suggestions in this book which you will find helpful.  I appreciated the detailed description of the different types of financial advisors and I loved the suggestion that we all put together an Index of where to find our important documents and everything else our heirs will need, if something should happen to us.  It will save our family a lot of frustration and confusion. I also liked the suggestion that we all assemble a "team" of reliable people we can count on as we age ... doctors, lawyers, financial planners, and wellness experts.
When the author contacted me about his book, he also provided a very complete description of what I could expect to find in the book.  I asked if I could use his description in this blog post, since he knows the book better than anyone.  After I read the book, I realized that his description was quite accurate.  Below is the information he provided.

Author's Summary of "The Senior Years Master Plan" (Ad)
"As I watched my parents' generation suffer in old age from lack of choices, or poor choices made decades earlier, the question in my mind was, 'So what do we need to do now to plan for the best outcome in our old age?'

There are thousands of books and websites on the subject of aging and its various elements.  But there isn’t a single, concise, overall guide to all of the practical aspects of aging that require planning and 
action, often years in advance.  This book’s audience is mostly Baby Boomers, and their children.

Here is a list of the major chapters:

•    The principles of aging
•    You will diminish
•    Housing and care options
•    Aging in place
•    Keeping busy
•    Pets
•    Stopping driving
•    Your team: doctors
•    Your team: financial planner
•    Your team: elder law attorney
•    Your team: the gym and trainer
•    Your team: maintenance people
•    Your team: a trusted sounding board
•    Your team: nutritionist
•    Your team: care manager
•    Psychological wellness
•    The last act: your funeral

The book is concise and stresses the need for practical action.  Each chapter lays out the spectrum of options, and de-confuses the plethora of perplexing terms that describe them.  Each chapter presents some hard truths, and stresses the need for planning.  Most chapters lay out the need for professional help.  However, no chapter tells the reader what they should do, but rather how to evaluate the options or how to engage an appropriate professional."
I highly recommend "The Senior Years Master Plan" (Ad) to the readers of the Baby-Boomer-Retirement blog. It could help everyone have a comprehensive, flexible plan for their senior years which will reduce their anxiety, save them time, and help them prepare for the inevitable.  I also suggest you browse back through the book every year or two, to make sure your plan is still up-to-date and reflects your needs and desires.
About the Book's Author
With a career spanning the private sector (high-tech and management consulting), public sector (police officer and law enforcement trainer), and the non-profit sector, Ralph Mroz brings a uniquely well-rounded perspective to his analysis. He has been a prolific writer and video presenter.

In the law enforcement arena, he's regarded as one of the leading critical thinkers regarding training.
In the management arena, he's the co-author (with Mitch Gooze) of Value Acceleration, (Ad) the book which introduced the structured strategic marketing system known as the Customer Manufacturing Process.  He's been appointed to two gubernatorial commissions (one concerning economic development, the other related to law enforcement).

As a Baby Boomer, he researched many aspects of aging in order to plan effectively for the upcoming decades.  Now retired, he volunteers at his local dog shelter and is involved with a police reform organization in his home state of Massachusetts. 
If you are interested in learning more about saving money, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credits: author via Amazon

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Housing Costs Put Retirement at Risk

Your housing costs may be the biggest threat to your retirement.  Even if you have paid off your home prior to retirement, the cost of maintaining your home can remain high.  According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, housing amounts to 43% of the expenses of retirees who are over the age of 75.

Danger For Those Who Still Have a Mortgage During Retirement

Part of the problem is the fact that most people are not paying off their mortgages before they retire.  In fact, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau reports that about 30% of Baby Boomers still have a mortgage when they retire.  This has resulted in a higher mortgage delinquency rate for people over the age of 75.   The average person over the age of 75 who still has a mortgage currently owes about $80,000.  This can be an overwhelming amount for someone who hasn't worked in 5 or 10 years and is dependent on Social Security and a meager amount of savings.

The problem with owning a home when you are on a fixed income with limited resources is that, in addition to the mortgage, you will also have other housing expenses ... and many of them increase annually.  Among those expenses are property taxes, homeowners insurance, repairs, cleaning and lawn work.  In addition, utilities on a large home are likely to be higher than those for a much smaller property.  Furthermore, people who may have been able to do their own cleaning, repairs and lawn work when they were in their 60's, may find that they must pay to have these things done as they age.  As a result, the cost of home ownership may rise much faster than inflation.

Other Financial Risks Faced by Retirees

When housing costs are added to the fact that many people retire while still owing student loan debt, credit card debt and, sometimes, bills for medical expenses, retirees are advised to make significant adjustments to their lifestyles before they stop working.  If they don't, they risk going through foreclosure and bankruptcy later in life, when it could be even more traumatic for them.

If you are doing your best to set up a realistic budget for your retirement, you will want to read this report by the Social Security Administration:   Expenditures of the Aged Chartbook - 2010.  It contains a detailed breakdown of how people spend their money after retirement.

While you will want to read the chartbook for yourself, I wanted to mention that it shows the three largest expenses for retirees are housing, transportation and healthcare ... and those are all expenses that have been rising rapidly over the past decade.


The solution for high housing costs is obvious.  Many financial advisers recommend that people downsize their lifestyle prior to retirement.  This may mean moving to a smaller home, condominium or townhome.  For some people, they may wish to take in a boarder or sell their home and rent ... letting someone else deal with repairs and lawn care.

Whatever you decide is the right approach for you, make sure you are taking your housing costs into consideration when you plan your retirement.


If you are looking for additional retirement information and ideas about downsizing, click on the tabs at the top of this page.  They will link you to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Budgeting for Your Golden Years

At the end of each year, many people take time to evaluate their retirement plans, work on their budgets and evaluate how they are doing financially.  In fact, this is something everyone should do once a year, whether they are young adults, middle aged or already retired. 

One of the keys to a happy, successful retirement is to have a realistic budget.  This involves knowing which expenses will be reduced or eliminated entirely, which expenses are expected to remain about the same, and which expenses are likely to increase.  It is important to be honest when you evaluate how much money you can reasonably expect to need in order to have a satisfying retirement.  Here is some basic information to get you started:

Retirement Expenses that Could be Reduced or Eliminated

Mortgage -- Will you pay off your mortgage or move someplace less expensive where your payments will be lower?  If you go into retirement with your current mortgage, of course, you can expect this expense to remain unchanged.

Rent -- If you do not own your own home, will you remain in your current lease or move to less expensive housing?  Renting does make it easier for people to be flexible in making adjustments to their cost-of-living.

Debt -- Even if you still have a mortgage, many people try to pay off all or most of their other debts before they retire.  If this is true for you, it could make a substantial reduction in your monthly budget, depending on how much debt you have been carrying.

Commuting and Transportation -- Most people drive fewer miles after they retire, which also means that they spend less on related expenses, such as car repairs and parking.  However, if you plan to do a lot of traveling by car, this may not be true for you.

Lunches, work clothing, dry cleaning and other job related expenses -- Once you stop working, you are much less likely to be eating lunch out every day, buying suits or taking them to be cleaned.  The amount of savings can add up.

Retirement savings -- After you begin living off your retirement savings, you will stop adding money to your IRA or 401(k).  This is one expense that will drop off completely.

Medical Expenses - Maybe -- If you are old enough to go on Medicare when you retire, and if you decide to use a high-quality Medicare Advantage plan, you may save money, especially if you paid your own health insurance premiums in the past.  However, if you have received free or inexpensive healthcare through your employer, then this could be an expense that will be higher when you retire.

Retirement Expenses That Will Remain About the Same

Groceries -- While we like to think we will save money in every area of our life, the truth is that certain expenses, such as our grocery bill, are going to stay the same or may even increase slightly as we eat more meals at home.

Utilities -- This is another bill that will probably remain about the same or might increase slightly, especially if you have been accustomed to turning the thermostat down when you're at work.  Once you are home all day, running the furnace or air conditioner, watching television or using the computer, your utility bills will be at least as much as you spent in the past and could go up slightly.

Insurance -- The amount that you spend on homeowner's or renter's insurance, life insurance, and auto insurance are all going to remain about the same as what you have paid in the past.

Property Taxes -- If you own a home, even if you have paid it off, you still need to include your property taxes in your retirement budget.  They will initially continue to be about what you have paid in the past.  Over the years, you can expect taxes, and everything else, to go up.

Retirement Expenses that Could Increase ... Possibly a Lot!

Health Insurance -- Whether or not your health insurance costs go up or down depends a lot on what you have been paying in the past and the type of Medicare supplement you decide to purchase after you retire.  For example, if your employer paid for your insurance prior to retirement, then anything you pay for Medicare and the supplemental policies you choose will be an increase.  If you had an expensive individual health insurance policy in the past and you had to pay the premiums yourself, then Medicare, even with a Medigap supplemental policy, will seem like a bargain.  You need to do your research and have a realistic budget for your health insurance.  For most people, the least expensive way to handle Medicare is by using a Medicare Advantage plan.

Other health expenses -- Depending on the insurance you choose, you will still have co-pays and deductibles with most Medicare plans.  Drug costs are sometimes high for senior citizens, as well.  Basic Medicare does not cover dental or vision expenses, which can be significant as you age, so you may need to purchase extra insurance to help with these costs.  Even if you do have insurance, certain dental expenses, such as implants, can still be quite high.  It is wise to estimate what your deductibles and other costs could be and set aside some money to cover these possible future expenses.

Long-term care -- If you decide to purchase long-term care insurance after you are already in your 60's or 70's, the insurance premiums could be quite high.  If you have not yet reached your 60's, you are better off getting the insurance while you are younger and before you have developed any serious health problems. It is smart for most people to get the insurance, because the cost of long-term care can be significant when paid out of pocket.  According to the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you have a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care after the age of 65.  A nursing home can cost as much as $90,000 a year and assisted living facilities run approximately $42,000 a year.  One way or another, it is wise to either buy the insurance or set aside some money for this possible expense.

Entertainment --  Particularly during the first decade after you retire, you may want to kick up your heels a little and spend more time traveling, eating out, going to plays, or indulging in your favorite hobbies ... whether that means enjoying more time on the golf course, purchasing a sailboat or spending money on your favorite collection.  It's important to budget for these activities before you retire.  It won't be any fun to retire if you are unable to afford to do any of the things you looking forward to.

Emergencies -- An unexpected event can have an even greater effect on you when you are not working, since it could be difficult to make up for the lost money.  For example, a sudden drop in the value of your investments, a period of high inflation, losing your home and possessions in a flood, earthquake or other catastrophe, significant medical expenses, or major car repairs can be difficult losses to overcome, particularly if you are living on a tight budget.  When you first retire, it is wise to set aside as much money as possible in an emergency fund so you are prepared for the worst.

The bottom line is that you need to prepare for everything.  As they say, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  That's the secret to a comfortable retirement.


Yahoo! Finance, Dave Bernard, "5 Costs to Include in Your Retirement Budget," U.S. News & World Report, September 5, 2014.

For additional information about retirement planning, use the tabs at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of articles about great places to retire in the U.S. or abroad, financial planning, medical issues, family concerns and more.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Is it Time to Retire?

One of the reasons that the unemployment rate has fallen over the past few years, after hovering over 8% between 2007 and 20011, is because thousands of Baby Boomers are beginning to retire.  Over the past few years, Baby Boomers have been turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, but many of them were reluctant to let go of their jobs in the middle of the 2007 recession. 

In many cases, Boomers needed to recoup what they had lost in the real estate and stock market crashes of a few years ago before they could retire.  In other instances, they were afraid to let go of their jobs too soon for fear of another financial set-back.  Over the past few years, however, Baby Boomers began to believe that it was possible for them to retire. 

If you are uncertain whether you are prepared to give up your job in the next few years, listed below are some things to consider.

How to Decide if You are Ready to Retire

Make a Realistic Post-Retirement Budget

The first thing you need to do is make a list of the expenses you have now.  Remove the items that you do not expect to have after you retire, such as commuting costs.  Add in money for the extra expenses you expect after retirement including travel, replacing your car, Medicare insurance premiums, prescription drugs and medical co-payments.  Next, add up the retirement income that you expect to receive from your Social Security, your spouses's Social Security, pensions, annuities and any other sources.  Will you have enough income to cover your expenses, or do you need to make some adjustments?

Consider Ways to Supplement Your Retirement Income

In the retirement community where my husband and I live, hundreds of retirees work part-time for the homeowner's association.  They serve as Gate Ambassadors, bus drivers, receptionists, and office workers.  They are paid several dollars an hour above the minimum wage and are also allowed the free use of some of the pay-for-use facilities in our community. 

Other people in our neighborhood earn extra money selling real estate in the community, working in antique stores and gift shops in the area, and in similar part-time occupations.  A few of our friends have remained in their former occupations, but now only work part-time.  These jobs help retirees stretch their retirement income without the necessity of continuing to work full-time in a demanding career.

Pay Off Debts

If your income will not be enough to cover your post-retirement living expenses, one step you should take is to make a plan to pay off your debts.  If you have credit card payments, car payments, and college loan payments for your children, you may need to pay off these bills before you can realistically retire.  If you have a small mortgage with a low payment, this is one debt you may be able to continue to carry, if you are free of other large expenses.  However, if you are overwhelmed by debt and feel as if you can never retire, you may consider selling assets to free up enough money to clear out your obligations.  If your debts are excessively large, you may even consider selling your current home and buying a smaller, less expensive one.  Your goal is to rearrange your expenses so that it is possible to have a planned, manageable  retirement, before a healthcare crisis or job loss forces you to retire unexpectedly.

Have a Plan for Long Term Care

Many of us will need to spend some time during our lives receiving long term care, either at home or in a nursing facility.  In fact, experts estimate that two out of three senior citizens will spend some time in a long-term care facility.  Approximately one out of five people over the age of 65 will need to stay in long-term care for more than five years.  Everyone needs to make a plan for handling this future expense. 

You may want to purchase Long Term Care Insurance or make sure you have set aside enough assets to cover several years of care.  As part of your long-term care planning, you may also want to write a living will that explains the healthcare decisions you want made if you are too ill to speak to the doctors on your own behalf. 

Plan for How You Want to Spend Leisure Time

What do you want to do with the free time you will have when you retire?  Do you want to travel in an RV, take an annual cruise, spend time on the golf course, or take art classes?  Before you stop working, you need to make a plan that will allow for you to enjoy your retirement.  Perhaps you may want to move to another part of the world, sell your home and buy an RV, or move to a retirement community that has free or low cost amenities such as golf courses and art classes.  Whatever type of retirement appeals to you, you need to include the cost in your retirement planning.  In some cases, the cost of living in a retirement community, another country, or in an RV may be less than you are currently spending on living expenses.  However, it would be wise to discuss the change with others who have tried it and get their advice.  You want to be realistic about what your new lifestyle will cost.

Your Personal Retirement Plan

If you are a Baby Boomer who hopes to retire in the next few years, it is not too early to begin making plans and changes to your lifestyle so that you can make it happen.  There is no reason why anyone should assume that they will have to work until they drop dead at their desk, as I have sometimes heard some people say.  With a little planning, nearly anyone who has spent years working hard on a job will be able to make a plan and find a cozy, comfortable way to have the retirement they always wanted.

If you are interested in more retirement planning tips, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire in the United States or abroad, financial planning, common medical issues, changing family relationships, travel and more.

For more help in making your retirement plans, you may also want to read:

Do You Need a Million Dollars to Retire?
Cheap Places to Retire
Finding Niche Retirement Communities
The Villages Active Adult Community in Florida
Popular Retirement Communities in the United States
Laguna Woods Village Active Adult Community
Garden Spot Village Community for Seniors in PA
Best Places to Retire Outside the US

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