A retirement fund is a personal expense account for retirement living. The amount of money you have in your retirement account must sustain you for the rest of your life after you retire.
The average man lives to be 74 and the average woman lives until age 80.
If you are not careful, you could outlive your own retirement fund.
You should plan out your retirement with a retirement advisor. Start as soon as possible.
But there are very cheap and affordable ways that you can plan your own retirement. Here are three.
Stay on Budget
Budgets are boring, and time-consuming, and they can hurt your feelings.
Math does not lie. A budget will reveal to you how well, or badly, you are at taking care of your personal finances.
It’s fun to spend money, especially when you are young. But wasting money is a luxury that you cannot afford in old age.
Make time to assess a personal household budget on a weekly, monthly, and annual schedule. A budget will tell you how much money is coming into your household and your expenses. Your budget can show you if and where you are wasting money on unwise or wasteful expenses.
By analyzing your budget, you can see where you can cut wasteful spending. And that will help you save more money.
If you gain new income or lose money, then you must adjust your budget accordingly. A budget is not a static document; you need to assess it weekly or monthly at the very least for it to have any worth as a financial document.
If you are a working-class retiree, you can spend money on a financial advisor or you can make the weekly or monthly sacrifice to self-assess your own expenses. Keep all of your receipts. And make a spending diary for every non-essential purchase you make.
Live Somewhere With a Lower Cost of Living
Not many Americans are able to retire on their own terms. And the ones who are able to retire barely save $100,000 to do so.
The average working-class retiree spends over $45,700 annually on their retirement expenses. Some spend as much as $60,000 annually on their retirement expenses.
As a working-class retiree, you need to watch every penny you spend. And that can be hard to do in large metropolitan cities where the cost of living is extremely high.
Working-class retirees who make $45,000 to $80,000 individually might be able to live in New York City or Los Angeles comfortably as long as they pinched every penny.
Consider moving to a small American city where the cost of living is very low. Make your post-retirement dollars stretch as far as possible.
Here is a list of 30 cities where the cost of living is low.
You could also consider moving to a large city, or a small town with a large expatriate community, in Central or South America. Some countries, like Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and Ecuador, even have special visa statuses for retirees and individuals with pensions or stable annual incomes.
Here is a list of 50 of the cheapest countries to live out retirement.
No, it won’t be easy. You will have to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture.
I am not asking you to rush into anything. Go to a country or two and see for yourself. Large cities in the most stable developing countries have excellent health care systems relative to the USA.
And if you opt to live in a city in Central or South America, then you will never be too far from the United States.
The greater point here is that an annual retirement income of $20,000 to $60,000 will last decades in the right developing country. Take the time to explore the idea.
Get an HSA
A retired couple could spend as much as $400,000 on their retirement expenses throughout retirement.
As you get older, you become more susceptible to disease and body breakdowns, no matter how healthy you are.
Health and life insurance become prohibitively more expensive the older that you get.
But it is never too late to make plans for taking care of your health.
A health savings account, or an HSA, is a type of bank account that must be used for health-related expenses and purchases. You can ask about an HSA at participating banks near you.
Any money you deposit or withdraw from an HSA is tax-free as long as it is for medical expenses.
And there are thousands of products that you can buy through your HSA – check out the HSA store.
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Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.