Here at AgingOptions we always remind our readers and listeners that there’s much more to retirement than finances. However – we’re the first to admit that preserving one’s assets in retirement is extremely important. So how are you doing in planning for your financial future? Do you feel you have all your bases covered?
Before you answer, we strongly suggest you take a look at this recent eye-opening article from the financial website Cheat Sheet. It starts with the question, “Are you financially prepared for retirement? You might be surprised to learn you’re not as prepared as you think you are.” The article lists ten important retirement expenses you must never ignore – expenses which people too often overlook. As the article’s author Sheiresa Ngo puts it, “Although you might know how much money you need to retire comfortably, there are some expenses you might not have thought about. Some aspects of retirement planning can be scary, so your first instinct might be to forget about it or leave things to chance. However, when it comes to life after work, letting the chips fall where they may isn’t the best strategy.” We heartily agree – so let’s consider some of these “forgotten ten.” We can’t cover them all in detail, so we suggest you read the article for the complete list. It just might cause you to adjust your plans.
The first cost you may not have planned for is the expense of helping adult children. In the words of the article, “Depending on when you call it quits, your nest might not be empty during retirement.” That’s because a significant number of 18 to 34 year old adults are living with their parents – more, in fact, than are living on their own or with a spouse or partner. As you plan your own financial future, it might be wise to add in some extra resources to cover some of the expenses this “extra mouth” can generate. A recent Pew research poll showed that about 58 percent of adults surveyed said they had provided financial help to their adult children. Is that potential cost listed among your retirement expenses?
The second extra financial bite for retirees is in the area of housing. In 1998, fewer than one quarter of adults 65 and older had a mortgage, and for those who did the average amount was $44,000. In 2012 that number had risen to 35 percent, and the debt had nearly doubled, a trend that is still continuing. Obviously housing costs will play a big part in your financial plans, and you can’t afford to forget those unexpected repairs that are a big part of home ownership.
What about the effects of inflation on your budget after you retire? We tend to presume that things will always cost about what they do today, but if you stop and think for a moment you know that’s simply not true. Seniors are especially prone to the effects of inflation because they are affected disproportionately by rising medical costs, which are going up at a rate far higher than the “official” inflation rate of two or three percent per year. And here’s a sobering thought: even at a modest three percent inflation rate, if you are 60 years old today, many prices will have doubled by time you’re in your early 80’s. Better sharpen that planning pencil.
Here are a few other “forgotten expenses” from the article. Have you taken these into account in your retirement planning? Some of these expenses are too frequently overlooked.
- Emergency savings – how much you set aside may be up to you and your financial planner, but if you don’t have sufficient cash on hand for those unanticipated expenses you’ll regret it.
- Taxes on Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from retirement accounts – you’ve been setting aside funds all these years in your 401(k) or 403(b) account, and that’s great. But if those were pre-tax dollars, and if you’ve never converted to a Roth IRA, all the money you withdraw will probably be taxable. You must take that into account as you project how far your savings will take you.
- A whole host of miscellaneous expenses that can really add up, including Personal grooming, Pet care and Memberships and subscriptions. If you’re on a budget that’s tightly planned, a sudden veterinary bill or a renewal notice from the health club can really derail your plans.
- Health care – even if you’re covered by Medicare or Medicare Advantage, there will almost certainly be out-of-pocket costs, prescription costs and policy premiums. These need to be factored into your planning. If you’ll contact us here at AgingOptions we can put you in touch with qualified experts who will help you navigate the complicated world of medical care and make the choices that are best for you – financially as well as medically.
- Transportation – getting around will be important in retirement, whether you drive or rely on public transportation (or alternative modes such as Über). You had better plan ahead for the cost of being mobile.
Once again, we encourage you to look at this article from Cheat Sheet and use it as food for thought when you’re planning for your retirement finances. But you must remember that finances are only one facet of planning for retirement. Here at AgingOptions we help you develop what we call a LifePlan that weaves your finances together with other key elements of retirement living – medical protection, legal preparation, housing choices and family communication. Unlike other “one-dimensional” plans, a LifePlan truly covers all the bases when it comes to planning for your future. You can find out more, without cost or obligation, simply by taking a few hours to attend a LifePlanning Seminar at a location near you. For all the details, plus simple online registration, click on this link. Or if you prefer, you can call us during the week and we will gladly assist you.
(originally reported at www.cheatsheet.com)