It’s not an uncommon occurrence for someone to retire and then realize they don’t have enough money set aside in savings. While careful retirement planning should be able to mitigate this risk, the truth is everyone is living longer — and this of course includes retirees.
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A longer lifespan means there will be more years to fund retirement, so it’s important to factor in these additional years when establishing a retirement fund. If you’re retired and find yourself starting to run out of money in your later years, here’s what experts say you should do.
Assess Your Cost of Living
Meera Meyer, CFP and owner of financial planning firm Life.Money.Balance., said in retirement you may find you require less space or need to live in an expensive area. Some retirees may find they simply don’t desire the same things they did when they were working.
Think about various aspects of your lifestyle where it may be appropriate, or even necessary, to downsize. You might be able to save a few hundred dollars each month by reducing your cost of living expenses or significantly more if you decide to downsize depending on your living situation. This can add up to a lot of additional funding in your later retirement years.
One of the frequent comments Meyer hears from recent retirees is they don’t know what to do with their time. Those who have already retired don’t necessarily need to unretire. What they can do is “semi-retire” and work in a part-time capacity.
The good news about semi-retirement is retirees can work in a flexible, paid job which is largely free of stressors. Doing this helps keep retired individuals mentally and physically healthy.
Meyer recommends roles like working in a library, driving a school bus or proctoring standardized tests. Retirees may also explore working for local nonprofit organizations who need administrative or outreach assistance.
“Not only will these jobs provide a sense of purpose and community, they also can be a great way to supplement a not-so-robust retirement account,” said Meyer.
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Engage in Low-Cost Hobbies
Not every retiree is going to spend their retirement flying first class or lounging at a five-star hotel property — and this is OK! There are plenty of wonderful hobbies to explore in retirement, many of which cost little to nothing.
A few good examples include hiking, gardening, playing card games with friends and learning to play an instrument. These hobbies all have a minimal financial outlay, but can provide you with a lot of fulfillment.
Best of all, they keep you from frequently dipping into your retirement savings. “While having low-cost hobbies won’t magically increase the money in your retirement account, it will reduce the amount which is getting pulled out, allowing your money to stretch out for a longer period of time,” said Meyer.
Get Your Benefits
If you have been retired for a few years, you likely applied for Social Security and Medicare benefits as soon as you were eligible for the programs. Make sure to have these benefits in place if you don’t already — this is especially important for anyone who has decided to delay their Social Security until age 70 — and receive the maximum possible payout.
In addition to getting these benefits, Meyer recommends looking into other benefits available through these programs. Check your eligibility to see if you qualify for the SilverSneakers program. This is a free gym and workout benefit available through select Medicare plans for adults ages 65 and older.
You can also find additional senior discounts almost everywhere you go including museums, transportation and movie theaters. Some retirees may qualify for special energy credits or property tax deductions, depending on where they live. See which benefits are available to you, and which can help you continue saving toward your retirement account, with just a little Googling.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Already Retired and Realize You Don’t Have Enough Saved Up? Here’s What Experts Say You Should Do