5 Ways to Avoid Outspending Your Income in Retirement

Everyone looks forward to their golden years as a wonderful time of relaxation and enjoyment. It’s a time to revel in the fruits of your labor, or volunteer if you feel like it. The last thing you want to do is to outspend or outlive your income in your retirement years. Here are a few ways to avoid that scenario.

Start Early

It’s a known fact that those who start to save for retirement at a young age — before age 30 — tend to save more funds than those who wait. Furthermore, the process of saving money is much less strenuous when it begins early. Through the magic of compound interest, a person who starts when they are 22 will end up tucking away less out of pocket money, but will end up with thousands more than a person who waits until they are 32.

Plan for Longevity

They say it’s smart to always expect the worst but hope for the best. This adage is especially helpful when it comes to planning for retirement. It’s best to expect that tomorrow will be your last day, but hope to live forever. When you sit down to look at the numbers, be optimistic with your budgetary needs. You’ll need to plan to procure an income that is substantial enough to support a comfortable standard of living for you and yours from the day you retire to the day you die, and ideally, have an inheritance to leave to your heirs.

Diversify Your Portfolio

A diverse portfolio of investments that includes different kinds of stocks and bonds, as well as various savings accounts, CDs, and annuities, will ensure your successful retirement income. With your retirement years at stake, you’ll most certainly want to consult with a seasoned professional who can help you determine the best way to go with your financial planning. Understanding all the pros and cons of annuities: fees and expenses especially, will be the key to making a proper informed decision about your game plan.

Live Frugally

Living frugally doesn’t mean you should live uncomfortably. It means to live within or below your means, and to refrain from spending money unnecessarily. The longer you can live below your means, the more money you’ll inherently have to set aside for your future financial plans. Furthermore, sticking with this habit will stabilize your finances in general, making you more likely to be able to withstand the curve balls that life will inevitably throw at you.

After all, it’s those curve balls that cause many people to dip into their retirement savings. Don’t be one of those people. Live beneath your means and cement your secure financial stability, starting now.

Set Goals

Isn’t the first step to achieving success always to decide what exactly it is that constitutes success? Saving for retirement is a marathon; not a sprint. As any marathon runner will tell you, the best way to quantify the journey is to set mini goals to work toward along the way. Don’t let yourself get discouraged when you only have $10,000 saved. It takes time, patience and perseverance in order to reach that finish line.

Instead, set attainable goals to be reached in regular intervals. This will help keep you grounded in your plan, but it will also help serve as a gauge to measure your progress. If you miss a milestone, it could be time to reevaluate different aspects of your portfolio.

Are you prepared for retirement? It’s true that the earlier you start saving the better off you’ll be, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late if you haven’t started yet. If you’ve started taking strides to procure a healthy retirement fund, congratulations. Keep up the momentum; never wane from your plan. If you haven’t started, or aren’t where you’d like to be with your retirement savings, know that you can turn it around by investing wisely and applying expert advice.

Photo Credit: IvanWalsh.com

3 comments to 5 Ways to Avoid Outspending Your Income in Retirement

  • Good tips, Len. I would also add that people should take two important actions at least 10 years prior to retirement:

    1. Figure out how much you really think you will receive monthly while in retirement and
    2. Try living on that amount for a full year.

    If you do that and can live comfortably, you’re in good shape. If not, you have 10 years to make adjustments that either reduce expenses or increase income.

  • I would also add “adjust your investment portfolio toward consistent income.” As I get older I plan to move more toward bond and dividend mutual funds, because I’ll need some steady income. This is a great list though and I echo Ree’s idea of living on what you think you will have in retirement for a year.

  • Karen Kinnane

    Opening a small business or doing part time work when you retire is a good idea. While you’re earning money you don’t have time to spend frivolously. It also keeps you sharp and you aren’t likely to get bored which leads to spending money on things you don’t really want / need to alleviate boredom.

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