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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to Have a Good Retirement on a Budget

Excerpts from July, 2013 Senior Spirit

The concept of a golden retirement is a relatively new idea. It was not until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that workers started getting pensions and lived long enough to enjoy their later years. Before that, people worked until they died (Wikipedia).

More recently, we’ve created the ideal vision of retirement: usually a couple living near a beach (probably Florida) where they spend their days swimming, fishing, golfing and eating out with friends. Even though this ideal is unrealistic for most people, retirement can be pleasant if you watch your budget.

Creating a Budget

While figures vary, the general rule of thumb is to plan for a retirement that lasts 20 years, depending, of course, on what age you retire. This can be a long time to stretch your savings. The rule of thumb is that you'll need about 70–80 percent of your pre-retirement income to live on in retirement, but that depends on your lifestyle and your health.

Retirement Budget
Listed are costs and income sources to consider when creating a budget: Housing Costs
  • Mortgage or rent
  • Real estate taxes
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Home insurance
Personal Expenses
  • Grooming
  • Clothing
  • Vacations
  • Auto insurance
  • Auto expense
  • Other
Living Expenses
  • Groceries
  • Entertainment
  • Utilities
  • Telephone
Medical Expenses
  • Prescription drugs
  • Medical insurance
Retirement Income Sources
  • Social Security income
  • Company pensions
  • Other retirement plans
Adapted from: Microsoft
In creating a budget, experts recommend deciding how much money you need to live comfortably, taking inflation and taxes into consideration. If you are using financial planning software, you may be able to create an estimate of how much your money will depreciate over the next few decades. Even a small percentage of inflation (under 4 percent) will cause you to lose almost half of your buying power over 25 years.

Whether you’re thinking about retiring or have already retired, it’s good to make a budget, figure out what you need and what you don’t. First determine your income, remembering to use all your sources, including a long-term care policy or a reverse mortgage.

Experts recommend being realistic about investments and how much they will increase over time. Because the stock market is not performing as reliably as it once did, the old rule of withdrawing 4 percent a year from your nest egg is far from viable these days for most people. Economists have lowered their long-term projections for the stock market since its downturn. For example, baby boomers’ net household assets, 401(k)s, pensions, homes and other investments, minus their total debt, have lost 18 percent of their value since 2007, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

To read this article in full, click here. 

Content provided by the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.