How to cut retirement expenses in a recession

retirementBoomers facing retirement in an uncertain economy, with your investments shrunken by the stock market decline, take heart: there are ways to make ends meet. From jettisoning a car to not spoiling the grandkids rotten, retirement does not have to suck -- or sound like one great sucking noise.

A recent "US News and World Report" article itemized 21 ways to cut expenses in retirement. Some seem obvious: sign up for Medicare, consider downsizing to a condo, move to a cheaper locale now that you no longer need good public schools or short commutes. So many early-bird discounts, so little time!
But others were less intuitive, such as putting off drawing Social Security to full retirement age (66 or 67, depending on your birth year), when monthly payments will be larger. For many, holding off might not be a problem. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than a fifth of Americans will be over age 65 by 2050, although more than a third will work at least a decade longer, compared to about 15% today.

Some other suggestions for future retirees:
  • Offer to babysit your grandchildren rather than showering them with gifts -- it will mean just as much if not more to their parents and you will gain a closer relationship with the grandkids as well.
  • Look for free entertainment because, with 2,000 more hours of free time, it's easy to spend more on restaurants, movies, music, theater and whatever other recreation draws you.
  • Use some of that extra time to become a more savvy shopper, comparison shopping and buying used. Everyone expects you to pull out a wad of coupons at the grocery store, so don't let them down!
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