When you retire, life is supposed to be easier. It’s a time to worry less about work and more about relaxing and pursuing your interests. However, in order for you to do this, you need to have a budget in place. A budget will help to ensure that you don’t spend more than you’re able, allowing you to keep funding your retirement for years to come. If you’re struggling with your post-retirement budget a little bit, below are some steps you can follow to get a grip on your finances:
Create a Detailed Spreadsheet
One of the first things you’ll want to do is create a detailed spreadsheet that maps out your current budget. This spreadsheet should first contain all your current income sources, such as your pension, social security, savings, and anything else. After that, you’ll then want to create a comprehensive list of all your expenses. Start with the largest ones, like if you have a mortgage or any other debts to pay off. Once you list those, move on to the smaller, everyday expenses.
Leave no expense out, even your daily morning cup of coffee. The more accurate your spreadsheet, the better able you’ll be to create a plan that works for your situation. There are many spreadsheet software options you can use to create your budget or you can rely on budget software. If you don’t like any of those options, you can always just use a piece of paper.
Downsize to Cut Costs
Once you have a better idea of your income and expenses, you can then start to look for ways to cut costs. The more costs you cut, the more room you’ll have in your budget for fun activities. When cutting costs, you can opt to either make small changes or large ones. For example, you could sell your home and move into a senior living community that costs less per month. Another option is to sell one of your vehicles if you and your spouse both have one and no longer need to commute to work.
Smaller options include dining out less or canceling some of your monthly subscriptions, like any streaming services. How much you cut is up to you. Obviously, the more you downsize, the more space you’ll have in your budget. Go through your expenses and see what you can afford to get rid of, then reassess whether your budget fits your needs.
Explore Reverse Mortgages
If you’re the owner of a home, one way that you can create some space within your budget is through a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage is when you receive a cash loan using the equity in your home. Many people choose to get a reverse mortgage because it allows them to stay in their homes while still getting the large loan that they need. To learn more about whether or not a reverse mortgage is right for you, you can use a reverse mortgage calculator like this one – https://reverse.mortgage/calculator. If you’re still unsure, consult with a financial advisor for more information.
Take on a Part-Time Job
A part-time job is another way to increase your income. If you’re willing to work a few hours per week, this small income can make a big difference in your budget. Imagine working roughly 10 to 15 hours per week and having a few hundred extra dollars at the end of each month. This would make paying bills easier and allow you to pursue some other interests in your remaining free time. Even better, there are many remote jobs available for seniors so you wouldn’t even need to leave your home.
Fully Understand Government and Employer Programs
Finally, make sure you fully understand any government benefits or employer benefits that you’re receiving. For example, you may have an income from social security or your pension. It’s a good idea to take some time to learn about all your options with these programs, as in some cases you could receive more money than you’re currently getting. It doesn’t hurt to do a little research and ensure you’re getting all you can.
Start Improving Your Budget Today
A healthy budget is the key to a good retirement. You don’t want to blow through all your savings within the first few years, then struggle to get by after that. Take time to map out your current budget, then begin brainstorming ways to give yourself some more breathing room. With a few simple strategies, you can better control your finances and make your retirement more enjoyable.