We know a lot of people who reach their golden years and struggle with making ends meet in retirement. It is a little sad to think that people can work all of their lives to reach this stage in life and face disappointment with their situation. Many of them realize that they should have planned better and saved more but having regrets over how you got here will not help the current situation. We sympathize with the people we know who wish they could do things they don’t have the money for or struggle to find the money just to break even each month. When you look at the problem logically, there are only two approaches that make any sense. If you find yourself in this situation, you either have to cut expenses or increase the money that goes into your bank account each month. What most people don’t realize is that there are also two ways to approach either path. One is to feel sorry for yourself and grudgingly take on the challenge of improving yourself financially or, secondly, to make the path ahead of you a journey to be enjoyed. As you might have guessed, we strongly believe in taking the positive approach in solving this dilemma.
Let’s take a look at cutting expenses first because with the recent period of inflation we’ve experienced, almost everyone has noticed that there’s less money left over at the end of each month. When you look at the regular expenses that you have, food is probably the one that gives you the most control. You can look at other items like phone, cable and internet to decide if these packages can be downsized (do you need 200 channels?) but groceries and dining are often the expenses where the most money can be saved. When it comes to grocery shopping, just a little change in habits can make a big difference. If you’ve never been a bargain shopper, you should become one today. Looking at the sales in your local markets can yield big savings and using the coupons that are offered can also keep some money in your pocket. I admit I used to feel a little self-conscious handing the clerk a bunch of coupons, but when I saw how much it added up to, all of those feelings went away. Between the coupons, sale items and the frequent shopper rewards, we save a sizable amount of money each month. It has helped us quite a bit in making ends meet in retirement.
If one of the things you like to do is dine out, you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to give that up entirely. It may be a less frequent experience, or it may be that you just become a little more selective in your dining habits. If you start by cutting out alcohol, soft drinks, appetizers and desserts, you’ll be amazed at how much money you can save. Going to restaurants that offer early bird seating can also be a way to stretch your dining dollars. The great thing is that you may not have to give up anything. Have that cocktail at home before you go and have your wine when you get home. Make your own appetizers or dessert and you’ve probably saved enough to make a noticeable difference in your budget. If you really want to make a difference or if money has gotten very tight, try cooking as a hobby. You won’t believe how much fun it can be and there are many great videos to follow that can make anybody into a decent chef. Making ends meet in retirement does not have to be drudgery – you can have a lot of fun with it and save money at the same time.
The other approach we mentioned is to find a way to bring more money into your bank account each month and there are various ways you can do this. Obviously, getting a part-time job is an option but, before you take this route, think carefully about the ramifications. Retirement is a wonderful time and should be enjoyed to the fullest. I hesitate to give up any of my hard-earned free time so getting a job might be the last thing on my list. Everyone is different, so if you’re determined to do this, at least get a job that you will enjoy in an environment that will be pleasant and fulfilling. The money might be a little less in a more enjoyable surrounding, but the few extra dollars won’t mean a thing if you go home aggravated at the end of each day. I admit that I’m biased – my days of taking orders from anyone are, hopefully, behind me forever and I know many fellow retirees who feel exactly the same. Some of them started their own website business and are very happy with the results. If you sit down and explore your options, you’ll find that there are quite a few ways of making ends meet in retirement.
One approach that many people ignore is to look at your current assets. For many people, their home is their biggest investment and, when they get to this stage in life, they have a very small mortgage or no mortgage at all. A couple of our friends have gotten a reverse mortgage and they’ve been very happy with the financial benefits that have come their way. One of our acquaintances even sold their life insurance policy for extra cash every month. Whatever your situation, take the time to explore all the options that are available to you. If you have a financial advisor, take advantage of their expertise. The main thing is to maintain a positive outlook on life. Making ends meet in retirement is a problem many retirees have so don’t feel like you’re alone and don’t let it rob you of the happiness you deserve. It’s time to Enjoy Retired Life!
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