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Estate Planning: Retiring on a Smaller Budget

If unforeseen circumstances and events have caused you to retire earlier than expected or have negatively impacted your retirement savings, below are a few suggestions to help retire on a smaller budget:

  1. Downsize. A smaller home or condo is easier and less expensive to maintain and will provide savings in utilities, taxes and insurance.
  2. Learn to Cook. Eating out is expensive. Cooking from scratch is cheap, and can be fun. Try having each night of the week with a different theme: grilling, slow cooker, Mediterranean, Asian, etc.
  3. Drive One Car. Without the need to commute, many couples find it’s easy to get by with just one vehicle. Ride-sharing services, public transit, and bicycles are also good alternatives.
  4. Don’t Support your Kids (or Grandkids). Now is not the time to spend your hard-earned money supplementing your children’s or grandchildren’s lifestyles. They have opportunities to earn money over decades. You do not.
  5. Watch Investment Expenses. These are often hidden, but it pays to dig into the details. Consider low-cost mutual funds, as well as flexible/no-penalty certificates of deposit and money market accounts available online, such as from Ally Bank or CIT Bank.
  6. Buy Used. A two-year-old car is a much better buy than a new version of the same model. Plus your car insurance will be lower. Modern cars can easily last 200,000 miles, so even if you buy one with 50,000 miles, you should get many years of use.
  7. Senior Discounts. These can add up, but some are good only on certain days. For example, Walgreens now has Senior Day each Tuesday (rather than the usual first Tuesday of each month). AARP members and those 55 and older get 30% Walgreens’ off brands and 20% off other items.
  8. Free or Low-Cost Entertainment. If you are lucky enough to live near a college or university, there are often free or low-cost concerts and sports events. Public libraries are also a good resource. Many now have digital offerings.
  9. Sell Your Life Insurance. If you still have life insurance, don’t let it just lapse. Look into whether you can sell it – large investors regularly buy policies. I’ve had clients get hundreds of thousands more than the cash value. Make sure to use a reputable firm that will put you first, such as Ashar Group, LLC.
  10. Live abroad. This is not possible or desirable for many, but the cost of living in places like the Algarve region of Portugal and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico allows your dollar to go much further. And the weather is great.

Bottom Line

Be sure to reach out to an estate planning attorney to work together to meet your personal and financial objectives and goals. I may be reached at gregory.herman-giddens@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1240.