It’s not uncommon for someone to retire and then find they don’t have enough money to spare. While careful retirement planning should be able to mitigate this risk, the truth is that everyone is living longer, and this obviously includes retirees.
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A longer life means there will be more years to fund your retirement, so it’s important to take these additional years into account when setting up a retirement fund. If you are retired and find yourself running out of money in recent years, here’s what the experts say you should do.
Assess your cost of living
Meera Meyer, CFP and owner of financial planning firm Life.Money.Balance., Said that in retirement you may find that you need less space or have to live in an expensive area. Some retirees may find that they simply don’t want the same things they did when they were working.
Think about the various aspects of your lifestyle where it might be appropriate, or even necessary, to scale back. You may be able to save a few hundred dollars a month by reducing the cost of living or a lot more if you decide to scale depending on your life situation. This can lead to a lot of additional funding in your final years of retirement.
One of the frequent comments Meyer hears from recent retirees is that they don’t know what to do with their time. Those who are already retired do not necessarily have to retire. What they can do is “semi-retirement” and work part time.
The good news about semi-retirement is that retirees can work with flexible, paid work that is largely stress-free. This helps keep retired people mentally and physically healthy.
Meyer recommends roles such as working in a library, driving a school bus, or taking standardized tests. Retirees can also explore working for local nonprofit organizations that need administrative assistance or outreach.
“Not only will these jobs provide a sense of purpose and community, but they can also be a great way to complement a not-so-robust retirement account,” Meyer said.
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Engage in low-cost hobbies
Not all retirees will spend their retirement flying first class or relaxing in a five-star hotel – and that’s okay! There are plenty of wonderful hobbies to explore in retirement, many of which cost little or nothing.
Some good examples include hiking, gardening, playing cards with friends, and learning to play an instrument. These hobbies all have a minimal financial outlay, but they can give you a lot of fulfillment.
Most importantly, they prevent you from frequently dipping into your retirement savings. “While having low-cost hobbies won’t magically increase the money in your retirement account, it will reduce the amount that is withdrawn, allowing your money to stretch over a longer period of time,” Meyer said.
Get your benefits
If you’ve been retired for a few years, chances are you applied for Social Security and Medicare benefits as soon as you were eligible for the programs. Make sure you have these benefits in place if you don’t already – this is especially important for anyone who has decided to postpone their Social Security until the age of 70 – and receive the maximum possible payment.
In addition to getting these benefits, Meyer recommends looking into other benefits available through these programs. Check your eligibility to see if you are eligible for the SilverSneakers program. This is a free gym and training benefit available through selected Medicare plans for adults aged 65 and over.
You can also find additional senior discounts almost anywhere you go, including museums, transportation, and cinemas. Some retirees may be eligible for special energy credits or property tax deductions, depending on where they live. Find out what benefits are available to you, and which ones can help you keep saving on your retirement account, with a little Google research.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Are you already retired and realize you haven’t saved enough? Here’s what the experts say you should do
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