Making a budget for retirement is the most effective way to take care of your savings and income for retirement.
Even though preparing a budget takes time, the perks of using your money wisely with a good plan are great. Staying with a budget can help make a substantial amount of saving, making your income sustainable and create a stress-free retirement experience. Not having enough money when there are bills to pay, needing to go to the doctor or emergency expenses can be stressful for retired seniors.
Read the following section to discover more information about effectively budgeting for your retirement. You can start this process as early as you would like, but it is important to note that there are certain factors about your potential retirement that can be difficult to predict. Some areas of life that can affect a budget plan are inflation, age of retirement, investment profits, taxes and Social Security income.
Discovering Fixed and Non-Essential Costs
To create a budget that is customized to your personal and economic situation, the first step is deciding what your fixed expenses are during retirement. A fixed expense amount is how much is expected to be paid to cover the cost of living or the most essential items for survival during retirement. Depending on your living situation, fixed expenses may include the cost of essentials and services such as:
- Housing, including mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance costs, rental amounts and estimated utilities.
- Clothing, including clothing, shoes and other related expenses.
- Food, including your monthly grocery expenses and any restaurant or fast food expenses you may incur.
- Transportation, including any finance charges, fuel costs and maintenance fees.
- Health care, including insurance costs and out of pocket expenses.
- Other services, including the cost of cable, cellular phone, landline phone, broadband internet and any other reoccurring service fee.
When deciding expenses from health care for retirement, consider how your medical expenses would shift as you get older. Having an estimate for life expectancy is advantageous to more accurately calculate health care costs. Dental, eye care and hearing expenses during retirement should also be included, especially as these services are not generally covered by certain health insurance plans such as Medicare.
Any recurring obligations can be included when calculating the expenses for your budget. These can include but are not limited to monthly cable, internet, gym memberships and other subscriptions. Making a budget spreadsheet can prove useful when listing the 12 months of the year, detailing the expenses for each month.
When creating a budget, it is also essential that the budget include excess funds. This way, your budget will include enough to cover any changes that may occur within your monthly expenses, any additional services that you may need and any other type of unexpected fee. In doing so, you will reduce the likelihood of being overburdened by any unexpected finances that could otherwise alter the funds you have to allocate to other activities, services and necessities.
The next section will cover the estimated retirement income so you can properly develop your budget.
Discovering Your Retirement Income Amount
It is possible to calculate an estimate for your retirement income. This can be done by adding together every source of income you will receive as a retiree. It is only feasible to create estimates with these numbers, but the general income amount for retirement is important because it helps determine whether you can pay for your essential cost of living each month of retirement.
Some examples of income sources are Social Security payments, annuities, investments, part-time or full-time employment checks and any other types of income that are expected to receive during retirement. The numbers for these sources should be added together to calculate the estimated monthly income amount for retirement.
Using Income and Expenses to Make a Budget
The estimated monthly income and expense amount to decipher whether it will be enough money to cover expenses for a prolonged period for retirement. When your estimated monthly income is higher than monthly expense amount, then the money that is left can be used for travel, hobbies, entertainment or savings.
Once the initial budget has been calculated, adjustments can be made to your retirement budget where it is necessary. Any unfavorable expenses should be removed from the retirement budget. It is possible to add expenses and increase or decrease your income amount as your finances and life change over time. Once you have completed a budget that works for your future retirement plans, prepare to incorporate the budget while you shift into your retirement period.
Free Helpful Excel Templates to Manage Retirement:
Testing Your Budget
Putting your budget on a test run is a good way to decipher whether it is going to work when you go into retirement. There are different ways to test out your budget and check the effectiveness of the plan and if there needs to be some improvements. Since your budget will continue to change until you reach retirement, testing the budget frequently will improve the accuracy of the budget plan. The next two strategies can be used to give your retirement budget a test.
The Extended Vacation Test
One way to examine the fallibility of your budget is to take an extended vacation to practice what it would be like when you are retired. This can be a useful experience if you plan to retire abroad. This vacation will be practice for retiring, so it is important to consider that what you have in your plan will have everything you need.
With your calculated budget, determine what would be your monthly income on retirement. Then withdraw this amount and take a vacation for the month with only the cash that is withdrawn. This amount will account for the essential and non-essential expenses in your budget.
Depending on how close you are to being retired, this test run may not consider the changes in expenses you could experience as a retiree. If you are close to your planned retirement age, this test can show an indication of whether you are better off retiring later or earlier than planned.
The Retirement Month Test
Another strategy is to better the budget is to live a month as a retiree. Pretending that you are already retired can show you where the extra costs can pop up in areas you have never thought about.
Get involved in any projects that you might be interested in as a retired person during this month. You can participate in volunteering or get into hobbies. Calculate the costs of these activities, especially those that will last extensively. The activities that last for a small period of time will have less of a result on your overall financial plan.
While you are conducting this practice, try to not interact with your coworkers. Retirement generally affects the social circles of retirees. Social activities can also affect your budget, so it is important not to overlook it. Looking over what costs can replace the time and energy spent at your job can give insight on additional costs that should be considered for the future budget.