Downsizing for Retirement – Smart Ways to Simplify Your Later Years

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As people see their pensions cut or entirely eliminated and careers suffer unexpected downturns, the concept of retirement has undergone a radical change. Finding ways to scale down expenses and enjoy life while still staying within a budget has become the goal for many people over the age of 60. A careful assessment of your current lifestyle, and a re-examination of the activities you enjoy, can help to create a comfortable and enjoyable retirement period.

 

Housing

Housing is one of the largest expenses in your household budget. You may have spent years accumulating sufficient income for the home of your dreams. However, your dream house may not fit as well for your later years. Larger homes often require expensive repair costs and paying contractors to do tasks you can no longer do yourself. Downsizing your housing needs can be an easy way to free up more household income for a comfortable and satisfying retirement. The equity you have accumulated in your home can often provide a sizeable nest egg for your retirement years. Moving to a smaller home or condominium can reduce maintenance costs and allow more time and money for more enjoyable experiences, such as hobbies, travel or learning new skills.

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Income

Ensuring sufficient income in later years is another pressing concern for those approaching retirement age. If you can count on a sizeable pension or income from investments, you will be in a good position to allocate your spending comfortably. However, if you are not among these individuals, you will likely have to supplement your social security income after retirement. You may already have hobbies that can be turned into an income-producing business. The Internet provides many opportunities to market your artwork, carpentry, crafts or design ability in a number of areas to generate new income. Even if you are not tech-savvy, you can garner your unique talents into a part-time business to supplement your retirement income. Pet-sitting, house-watching, light cleaning, handyman work or companion care are just a few areas where you can make money regardless of your age.

 

Medical Costs

A thorough review of your annual medical costs can help you to choose the right Medicare program for your needs to reduce annual expenses. If necessary, supplemental policies can help to cover your medical expenses even further throughout the year. Take advantage of the preventive care coverage that these programs provide. Look for bargains on frequently used, over-the-counter medications, vitamin supplements and eyeglasses to keep recurring expenses in line.

 

Food Budgets

Your food budget can be trimmed dramatically, while still providing good nutrition and enough treats to satisfy any taste. Make use of local farmers’ markets to find good prices on fruits and vegetables to ensure your health as you age. Reduce the amount of meat in your diet by one-third to ensure lower cholesterol and triglyceride numbers. Bake your own cookies and cakes using natural ingredients. You will find that foregoing processed foods will not only save you money, but also increase your general health and well-being.

 

Travel

Traveling can be an expensive part of any household budget, but it is often an enjoyable hobby for many people. Look for senior discounts on airline fares and car rentals. The American Association of Retired Persons offers a number of discounts for its members, as does AAA and most of the member warehouse clubs. You can achieve significant savings through these organizations that will allow you to enjoy travel during your retirement. Plan to stay with family or friends in an area instead of paying for hotel costs. If you do book a hotel, find one with a kitchenette so that you can cook simple meals instead of eating in restaurants.

 

Family Responsibilities

Family gatherings can cause a significant burden on household income, but there’s no need to forego the pleasure of birthday and holiday celebrations simply because you are on a leaner retirement budget. Retirement can allow you more time to scout for better prices on gifts for children and grandchildren. Encourage other family members to bring foods from their favorite recipes to family gatherings. Create fun home activities such as specially designed Jeopardy games, Wii tournaments or board game contests with special prizes for the winner instead of expensive excursions. You can make memorable family get-togethers without spending large amounts of money.

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