What are the Biggest Expenses in Retirement?

Isabella Goode

Retirement is something that we spend our whole life preparing for, and many of us work hard to set ourselves up for the future. When we plan for retirement, we need to save plenty of money to cover the essentials. Fortunately, there are lots of services out there that can help us manage our money properly and discuss the funds that we should put away for daily expenditures, healthcare costs, and housing. However, no one ever prepares us for the biggest expenses that we will come across during retirement, so today, we will be taking a closer look at these.

Car Insurance

There are many advantages to owning a vehicle, but they do come with a cost. If you own a vehicle and plan to continue owning your vehicle during retirement, then you will need to look into ways to save money on running your car. In most cases, costs are out of your control, such as gas prices, repairs, etc.

However, one cost that is totally in your control is the price of car insurance. If you want a policy that offers great rates and rewards, then you should look into getting AARP car insurance. AARP auto insurance offers advantage programs, benefits, and savings for drivers over 50. Other ways to save money on transportation include selling the car and getting lifts or an annual pass for public transport.

Transportation

Transportation is the highest hidden cost we will face during retirement by far and will most likely cost you more than healthcare, something that will surprise many people. The vehicle you choose to own during retirement will play a huge part in how much you spend on transportation, but many ongoing costs of transportation will add up and take a chunk our of your retirement funds. If you can’t afford to drive or your health makes it unsafe, you will need to pay for public transport. If you manage to keep your car and the initial cost of ownership, you will need to pay for gas, maintenance, repairs, and most importantly, insurance.

Housing and Healthcare

As well as transportation costs, the two other large expenses you will experience during retirement will be housing and healthcare. If you end up needing to go into residential care, then these two costs will work together. Unless you are a homeowner and have paid off your mortgage, you will need to make sure your retirement funds will cover your mortgage costs until they are paid off, or ongoing rent payments. You will need to continue to pay for your bills and health insurance far into retirement, plus any other medical costs if you require attention or treatment for a health condition.

Having enough money for retirement is crucial, as it will determine your quality of life once you retire and will affect how much you can enjoy it. Understanding the biggest expenses that you will face will give you plenty of time to plan ahead, which will save you money in the future.

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Tips to Make Early Retirement Easier

The thought of early retirement is appealing. Regardless of how you feel about your job, just knowing you have the freedom to walk away is empowering. However, saving enough money for retirement can feel impossible. You want to make sure you have enough saved before walking away from your career. Many different formulas let you calculate how much you need to save before walking away from your job. While it is important to know how much you need to save, that is only one part of the puzzle. Your lifestyle will be very different, and it can be hard to know how to adjust for that as well. Planning this stage of your life looks different for everyone, but there are some things you should consider.

Plug the Holes in Your Budget

Knowing how much you should be saving each month is helpful, but you may have no idea how to come up with that money. If you feel that you are saving as much as possible, and it still will not meet your needs, it is normal to feel frustrated. Tightening up your budget allows you to find areas where you are spending more than necessary. Saving for retirement shouldn’t come at the expense of having enjoyable experiences today. By looking closely at your spending, you are almost certain to find areas to save. If you own your own home, look at refinancing your mortgage. If interest rates have dropped since you purchased your home you may be able to save a significant amount. You have the choice of lowering your monthly payment or shortening the term of your loan. If you are still paying on your student loans, refinancing them is a great way way to free up extra money every month. You can redirect this savings towards building your nest egg.

Work Towards a Paid Off Home

Paying off your home allows you to have significantly lower monthly expenses than if you still carried a mortgage. Having that untapped equity can also be beneficial if you find yourself facing major expenses, such as the need for assisted living or in-home care. Refinancing allows you to shorten the length of your loan. Another option is making extra payments toward the principal whenever possible. This can be a good choice if your pay is such that some months of the year you get an extra paycheck or you receive a bonus at your job.

Consider a Second Career

You may find that you enjoy your retirement less than you expected. After a lifetime of routine, some people struggle with a very open schedule. Taking a part-time job doing something you find interesting provides a little income and helps keep you involved in your community.

Take Care of Your Health

Taking care of your health is the most important thing you can do to have a successful early retirement. If you plan to retire early, it is probably so that you can enjoy activities and experiences you don’t have time for while you are working. Having your health fail will prevent this. Maintain a healthy weight, get some physical activity most days of the week, and visit your healthcare provider for annual check-ups. When your doctor recommends preventative testing or other work, follow-up. By taking care of your health you can be sure to get the most out of your retirement.

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Options for Health Care Insurance during Retirement

Q&A with a Reader

Hello,

Enjoying the newsletters.

My wife and I are planning to retire next spring and are in our mid-50s.

We are wondering what are the options for health care insurance? We constantly hear that healthcare will be the most expensive item in retirement. We want to have insurance, like we do now, but of course don’t want to pay thousands every month/year unnecessarily.

I believe we can do Cobra through my wife’s employer, for a year or so, but what after that? And that’s ridiculously expensive, there’s got to be something less expensive.  Then what after Cobra (if we go that way to start)?

Thanks,

Bill & Kim

Hi Bill and Kim,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

Health insurance in the States has been a conundrum for a long time. Different people deal with it in different ways – meaning –

* It depends on the state of your health (chronic disease, pre-existing conditions)

* What state in the US you live in (prices vary)

* If you tend to utilize complimentary medicines and practices (acupuncture, acupressure, exercise, meditation, yoga, herbs, visualization, preventative care, naturopathic, homeopathic, bioresonance, etc.)  before you go the Western style of care

* If you are open to medical tourism – this is a range from eye glasses, dental work, or full on surgeries. (Top 10 Q&A for Medical Tourism)

* If you choose a full plan or one with a large deductible

* If you get connected to doctors who take cash instead of insurance (Surgery Center of Oklahoma for instance)

* If you join a health ministry

* If you do things like purchase prescriptions out of pocket, use telemedicine or other ways to keep your health costs low.

These are all personal choices and there is no one-size-fits-all. There is no one “right” answer. It depends on your health, your approach to health care, your risk tolerance, and how you want to control your costs and customize your access to health care.

Below are several articles we have written, plus some web pages that you might want to take a look at for more information.

It’s also good to remember, that at your age of being in the mid-50s, you only have to get through the next 10 years or so, until you qualify for Medicare.

Going Naked

Buying Medical Care Versus Buying Medical Insurance

Cancer Treatment in Guatemala

Orthopedic Care in Guatemala

Also you can check out these websites, which oversee: Central America SurgeryCentral American Dental, and Central America Doctors.

I would also recommend our Medical Insurance Page for more information.

Let us know if you have further questions.

Best! and enjoy your upcoming retirement!

Akaisha and Billy

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4 Simple Ways to Beat Debt and Retire Earlier

Amos Onwukwe

Debt can delay your dreams of early retirement, keep you working longer, and put you under constant stress. Mortgage loans, auto loans, credit card debt, student loan debt, personal loans, payday loans, home equity lines of credit, etc, put the average American debt at $51,900.

Several factors contribute to this and can keep you trapped in employment if you do nothing about it. With over 80% of Americans in debt, it is important to come up with a definite plan to get out of debt ahead of your retirement.

Between age 40-49, the average American debt peaks at $78, 500. To enjoy a happy, stress-free life in retirement, now is the time to take action. In this post, we shall highlight four (4) proven ways to beat debt and retire earlier starting today.

  1. Minimize Expenses and Maximize Income

To prevent further debt, it is important to minimize expenses and maximize income. This can be easily achieved by budgeting. By planning out your monthly expenditures in advance, you can better maximize every dollar and cent.

This could mean self-discipline, sticking to a shopping list, avoiding impulse buying, using a debit card, paying cash where possible, being accountable, etc. These can help you keep expenses to a minimum.

This way you can save more money at the end of the month which you can keep in a savings account or invest in a business that can earn you profits. This is how you maximize your monthly income.

  1. Create Additional Sources of Income

Another way to maximize your monthly income is by activating additional streams of income. The super-rich hardly have a single source of income. Their nest eggs are built with earnings from multiple sources.

If you currently work a full-time job, this may be a bit of a challenge, but by managing your time more effectively, you can save a couple of hours each day. This extra time can be used to create additional income sources.

Most businesses are working fewer hours due to COVID-19, and most are allowing staff to work from home. With zero commute and fewer working hours, you can learn a new skill that can help you grow a side business.

  1. Start a Side Business

Starting a side business is easier said than done, especially when you have a full-time job, but it is well worth the trouble. Some of them are low cost and won’t get you further in debt.

For instance, dropshipping is a popular online e-commerce business model. You can open a Shopify store online, stock it with virtual products, and sell at any price to any destination in the world. You simply market your online store/products, and your supplier handles the rest, including picking, packing, and shipping to customers globally.

You can also find several other online jobs that may interest you. These jobs are usually flexible and can be done in your free time. Taken seriously, the income can overtake your current salary and help you retire earlier than you imagined.

  1. Save, Invest, and Repay Debts

As you create additional revenue streams your income will likely improve. Rather than increasing your monthly expenses, you should save at least 10%. A good target should be 80% of your annual income in savings or at least 6 months of income.

From the extra income, you should also look to invest money in safe and secure, yet profitable ventures. This is another way to beat inflation and grow your income. You can invest in stocks, gold, cryptocurrency, forex, etc.

Finally, the best way to pay your debt is to pay it. As you implement these tips and begin to grow your income, have a plan in place to pay down your debt over a specific period. Being debt-free is liberating and empowering.

To start your journey to early retirement and debt-free living today, remember to:

  • Minimize expenses and maximize income
  • Create additional sources of income
  • Start a side business
  • Save, invest and repay debts
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The world’s most relaxing vacation spots

Coastal views, leisurely excursions, spa packages, and indulgent cuisine all come to mind when thinking about the most relaxing vacation packages. If you’re looking to de-stress, unwind and just generally get away from the hectic pace of day to day life, travelling can be a great way to go.

The world is full of unbelievably peaceful places to visit that combine chill vibes with natural beauty and give you space to bask in total tranquility. If you’re looking for something along these lines, then look no further. Here, we take you through some of the most relaxing places in the world for a vacation. We’ll cover both the iconic “relaxing destinations” as well as a few off the beaten path destinations less known for their peaceful qualities.

Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti is the epitome of paradise on earth and it’s no wonder that it’s a top destination for luxury honeymoon vacations. Tahiti is a cluster of tiny islands filled with gorgeous golden sand beaches, crystal clear warm waters filled with an amazing ecosystem of marine life, and a wonderfully warm and welcoming culture. 

Whether you want to catch some rays under swaying palms, relax outside your overwater bungalow, or try some of the islands’ amazing cuisine, by taking a cruise to Tahiti you might just find one of the most relaxing vacation destinations ever. 

Ubud, Bali

A true haven of peace and tranquility, Ubud is the perfect place to get away from it all. Full of luxury spas and beautiful retreats, it feels like it has been specifically designed to take the weight of the world off your shoulders. 

Ubud also has an incredible blend of stunning natural beauty, luxury accommodation, and understated modernity that makes a stay here truly memorable. 

The Alps

World-famous and likely not needing much of an introduction is the European Alps! Amongst the top destinations for taking in the breathtaking views of these otherworldly mountains of Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and France. 

Abundant in castles, gardens, spas, and incredible food and drink, the Alps surely won’t  disappoint. Just be sure to order local cheeses, cured meats, and paired local wines to have the best experience.

Savannah, Georgia

This quaint little city on the coast of Georgia is brimming with Southern charm, cobblestone streets, and oak-shaded parks. Abundant in Spanish Moss and charming southern accents, you’ll think that you stepped right into the movie Forrest Gump. In fact, you may just walk some of the streets where some scenes from the famous movie were filmed. 

Savannah is filled with B&Bs and delightful old architecture. The city also offers endless places to dine, river views, and the famous southern hospitality.    

Bagan, Myanmar

Myanmar’s city of 10,000 temples is an astonishingly spiritual place to visit. Bagan, the ancient capital of the Pagan Kingdom, which originally held over 13,000 temples, is a city built over a millennium ago. Most have disappeared, but the 3,000 or so that remain to make this a stunning destination with an incredible atmosphere of calm. 

Watching the sun go down from the top of one of the stepped stupas or soaring above the UNESCO World Heritage Site in a hot air balloon are experiences not to be missed. 

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos provides gorgeous beaches, amazing Greek cuisine, dazzlingly beautiful seaside towns, and is the perfect place to run away from the world. 

An outstandingly beautiful island even amongst the impressive array that fringe the Greek mainland, Mykonos combines unexplored coves and ancient history with a surprisingly vibrant nightlife, making it perfect for travellers who are looking for a little bit of fun to go with their serenity!

Banff, Alberta Canada

Every year, Banff National Park in Alberta Canada draws in backpackers, climbers, dog sledders, and your average outdoor enthusiast. But did you know that Banff National Park is home to geothermal hot springs? 

The Fairmont Banff Hot Springs is one of the most unique and luxurious spa experiences in the world. The hotel is rich in history and abundant in views. You can take in the views of the grand Rocky Mountains from one of the spa’s terraces or mineral pools.

Conclusion

We hope we didn’t put you to sleep talking about these dreamy destinations for ultimate relaxation. Instead, we hope we added some destinations to your bucket list or encouraged you to actually book that trip to Bali you’ve always been thinking about. 

Book a spa package and pack a novel because who doesn’t need a relaxing vacation to recharge right about now?

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Types of Nursing Home Abuse You Might Not Have Known

Alessia Olsen

All residents of nursing homes have legally protected rights. Their most vital and basic right is to have access to an environment that is free of neglect and abuse. However, this right among several others gets violated many times.

Abuse encompasses a wide array of behaviors, actions, and treatments. This broad term involves everything from mistreatment, violence, negligence to disrespect. These are a few types of abuse at a nursing home.

Intentional or Unintentional Neglect

General neglect, whether intentional or unintentional is construed as abuse. This involves failing to provide residents with the proper care they need. It’s crucial to understand that while unintentional neglect may have consequences as abuse, it is different. Abuse needs to be a deliberate act with a malicious intent to cause the other person harm.

Nursing home abuse by way of general neglect can be in the following forms:

  • Leaving nursing home residents unattended for long periods of time
  • Not cleaning nursing home residents after bowel movements
  • Failing to provide food, water, and other basic necessities of life in time
  • Improperly administering or chronically forgetting medications

Physically Abusing a Resident

Physical abuse refers to an intentional act of causing trauma or bodily injury to a nursing home resident. Residents with cognitive disorders are more at risk of being physically abused. However, the abuse can be committed against all residents, regardless of gender or age.

Physical abuse involves:

  • Punching, biting, or kicking
  • Hitting, striking, or slapping
  • Grabbing, shoving, or pushing
  • Using restraints without just cause
  • Causing injury with an object

Emotional/Verbal/Psychological Nursing Home Abuse

Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse involves actions and words that are carried out with the intent to cause fear, distress or mental trauma. This type of abuse may include:

  • Name-calling
  • Insulting a resident on their intelligence
  • Insulting a resident on their appearance
  • Isolating the resident
  • Threatening the resident to be placed elsewhere
  • Exerting control by limiting transportation or use of telephone

Sexually Abusing a Resident

Sexual abuse involves all acts of intentionally violating a nursing home resident in a sexual capacity that is both unwelcome and unwanted. Sexual abuse can involve oral intercourse, full intercourse, or unwanted groping, feeling, and touching.

This type of abuse frequently results in physical symptoms, such as scratches, bruises, and lesions around the genital area. It may also cause the resident to contract a sexually transmitted disease.

Financial Manipulation or Abuse

Financial abuse is the intentional manipulation or exploitation of a resident to attain complete financial control over them. People committing financial abuse obtain unauthorized and illegal access to a resident’s finances. They do this by befriending the resident in some manner and gaining their trust.

Financial abuse involves:

  • Stopping financial access to funds
  • Stealing bank statements and other personal documents
  • Stealing possessions and money

It is recommended to seek advice from an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. In most cases, abuse is committed at the hands of those directly responsible for medical care, support, and personal care. Lawyers can help victims and their families acquire adequate financial compensation if any staff member harmed a senior at a nursing home.

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Best 5 Ideal Locations to Reside When You Retire

If you’re contemplating relocating to a different area of residence after retirement, you’re not alone. As per a survey done on an aging demographic by research group Merrill Lynch and Wave, over 60% of retirees intend to move or already have.

Regardless of what state you live in, you can choose a completely different area to settle down as long as it accommodates your budget and lifestyle. Financial security in retirement doesn’t just occur once you’ve hit the ideal retirement age. It takes years of planning and commitment.

To make the decision of where you should move less daunting, we’ve curated a list of the 5 best locations where you can begin a new chapter of your life.

1. Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs is a great location in Southern California dotted with popular towns such as Indio, Palm Desert, and La Quinta. The area was made famous thanks to personalities like Frank Sinatra who would frequent Palm Springs for a quick and fun getaway.

Palm Springs Real Estate Market and Cost of Living

The Palm Springs real estate market is highly affordable as compared to other areas in California such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. It has over 50 communities in the area with reasonably priced houses that are suited to cater to the active and social lifestyle that retirees usually look for.

2. Phoenix, Arizona

To say that Arizona does not rank among the top retirement locations would be a facade. The Grand Canyon State is known for its amazing natural scenery and retiree-friendly climate.

Phoenix being the capital of Arizona State, offers plenty of attractions that will keep you occupied. It has an array of cultural festivals, museums, cinemas, and world-class restaurants. There is also plenty of biking and hiking trails within the outskirts of the city.

3. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida, is a great city with a warm climate and plenty to offer. Perhaps more conveniently, the area is home to several retirement communities.

Orlando has an affordable cost of living and has plenty of attractions, the most significant of them all being Disney World. For any senior with grandchildren, this should be a deal maker.

4. Portland, Oregon

Portland has a population of just over 2 million people with a fifth of that demographic aged 60 and above. This makes it a highly attractive location for retirees. It boasts an extensive city park system, with over 200 parks open to the public. This is not including the nature trails and mountain ranges available for exploration.

  1. Santa Maria, California

Santa Maria is a small town located in California’s Central Coast area. It’s particularly known for its vibrant wine industry largely favored by its great weather.

The region’s warm climate also means that shoveling snow is something you might never have to do. It also allows for outdoor activities such as touring wine fields, hiking or camping at almost any time of the year.

Retirement Is the Beginning of a New Adventure

When it comes down to picking your retirement location, there’s a lot you should bear in mind such as the cost of living, the overall weather and climate of the area, the available culinary options, and if there are retirement communities present in the area.

Ultimately, you will have to choose somewhere that accommodates your hobbies and lifestyle. The places listed above should help you find a location where you can spend your golden years in comfort, style, and a tad touch of luxury.

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Gold Investments for Retirement: What Options Do You Have?

Joanna Stovic

Do you watch the gold space? If so, you know this metal has climbed more than 20% since January of 2019 thanks to increasing global debt, fears of an economic collapse, and geopolitical unrest.

With such a significant increase, many investors are turning their attention to gold investments as an option for retirement. Just like anything else, there are pros and cons to using gold as your retirement savings. However, many people have been successful with this, which is why it is a good idea to learn what options you have.

If you are interested in working with gold IRA companies or want to know more about how you can start investing in gold, keep reading. You will find out how to find the best gold IRA company and how to begin adding gold to your investment portfolio.

Purchase Physical Gold

The most obvious way to invest in gold is by purchasing physical gold. Usually, you would buy this in the form of gold bars or bullion coins and go through a dealer. Even though this sounds simple, just like any investment you make, it is essential that you do plenty of research and ensure you are only buying from reputable dealers.

If you decide that buying physical gold is the best option, you must also consider where you will keep it. Some investors pay to keep their gold in a bank depository; however, you can also store it in a safe at your home. Consider what option is right for you.

Invest in a Gold IRA

If you plan to use your gold investment for retirement, investing in a gold-backed IRA – individual retirement account – may be a smart option. A self-directed IRA often contains other, non-traditional investments, including precious metals and real estate, but you must follow specific rules.

For example, according to rules from the IRSyou can only include 24 karat gold coins and bullion bars in a gold-backed IRA. The only exception to this is the 22 karat American Eagle coins. Also, the gold used for a gold-backed IRA has to be provided by an IRA custodian and kept at a location that has been approved by the IRS. This means you cannot keep the gold that you purchase at your house.

Along with some of the other regulations in place, these rules may make the idea of setting up a gold-backed IRA a bit intimidating. Remember, these are considered “alternative investments” for a reason. As a result, they require some expertise and persistence for proper management. However, if you are really interested in investing in gold for your retirement years, this is a smart option to consider.

Invest in Gold Stocks

You may think investments in gold stocks are only for the investors who are already deep into the stock market. However, the truth is, anyone can make this type of investment.

There is a lot of purchasing power that goes along with this particular decision. However, this is only true if you put time into monitoring your financial investments. This means spending time to select the right gold stocks to invest in and reviewing your options regularly to figure out if the investments are still beneficial for your savings and overall wealth strategy.

Is Investing in Gold Right for Your Retirement Plans?

As you can see, there are plenty of options to consider if you are interested in investing in gold. There is also no question it can be beneficial for retirement savings. Keep the options here in mind and work with the professionals to learn how to move forward. 

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Running Out Of Money In Early Retirement: What You Can Do To Avoid It

Two of the largest concerns during retirement- regardless of age- are healthcare and debt. Debt has increased 543 percent among retirees in 20 years, as have the costs of healthcare. For retirees in their 60s, mortgages remain the number one debt commitment. The New York Federal Reserve Data puts auto loans and credit card debt at a close second and third. Meanwhile, healthcare costs will now cost a retired couple $285,000 throughout retirement. Both of these debts are large financial obligations in your monthly budget and if neglected, can cost you thousands in medical bills or late payment fees. That is why making it a priority to pay them off as soon as possible is a wise financial move.

Look at practical ways you can increase your debt repayments during retirement. It may mean refinancing to get a better interest rate or in the case of larger debts like home mortgages, downsizing your home to match your built-up equity. When it comes to healthcare costs, being proactive by getting health, long term care, and life insurance policies are the best protection you can have.

According to a Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey, approximately 11 percent of retirees are still repaying consumer debts including medical debt. Addressing the gaps in your healthcare coverage like the need for long term care means you are not left out of pocket should you require 24-hour outpatient or end of life care. If you have a bad medical history and are worried about the premiums, setting a guaranteed life insurance policy could be the answer: they negate prepossessed medical conditions and are often whole life policies, meaning no expiration dates. Alternatively, you could get a hybrid policy that includes long term care and death benefit element if you don’t need care.

Work On Reducing Your Living Expenses Now

Lastly, if you want to make your money last during retirement it is time to cut your expenses. While this financial move is recommended for all retirees, cutting expenses becomes even more important if your retirement funds are being depleted faster than you would like. Once you have eliminated larger expenses like existing debt and medical costs, it is time to turn your attention to other ways you can cut expenses as a retiree.

One popular way is by downsizing your lifestyle. Do you still need a family car or can you downsize to a small, more fuel-efficient vehicle? Similarly, would you be willing to downsize your family home during retirement? Other small but impact moves include tracking your spending habits, meal planning, and cutting out unnecessary utilities. If you are willing to spend an afternoon doing some research and comparison on utility prices, you find that you can easily save money on your utility bills every month.

Finally, consider getting some guaranteed income. If you retire early, you have the option of getting your Social Security benefits starting at age 62. However, choosing to get it earlier means your monthly amount decreases. So, establishing other guaranteed income streams like annuities and launching a side business helps to ensure you don’t outlive your savings even if you spend longer in retirement.

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Financially Preparing for Early Retirement

Sam Bowman

The average retirement age in the U.S. is 62. But that doesn’t mean you can’t manage to retire sooner if you have the right financial plan in place. Unfortunately, so many people are having to work further into their golden years because of poor financial planning, or even due to the strain on the economy over the years.

No matter what your current financial situation may be, there are things you can do to financially prepare for early retirement now. Start by developing a better understanding of  what you consider to be wealth. Does it mean total financial freedom? The ability to do whatever you want in your retirement years?

Once you have a better idea of what you need to retire comfortably, you can start to put things in motion to save money, get out of debt, and create healthy financial habits that will make it easier to retire early.

How Much Money Will You Need to Retire?

Several components need to come together in order to retire early. One of them is an aggressive savings plan. It seems as though every financial expert has a different idea on how much you should save or how much money you actually need to have in savings to retire comfortably.

There are plenty of percentages to throw around. However, most experts believe that your retirement income needs to be at least 80% of what you would typically make in a year, pre-retirement.

You can learn more about what you might need to have in savings by using a retirement calculator. But keep in mind what you want your retirement to look like. Other factors can contribute to how much you’ll need in savings, including:

  • Where you plan to live
  • Whether you want to travel
  • If you are taking care of other family members
  • Any major items you want to purchase

It’s also important to consider any outstanding debts you currently have. Stepping into retirement can be nerve-wracking on its own, but if you have underlying debts, it can feel nearly impossible.

Getting Rid of Debts

So eliminating debts before retiring should be a top priority. One of the most common types of debt, especially for seniors, is medical debt. Some hospitals do offer medical bill forgiveness through an application process if you can prove your financial situation. This typically requires providing evidence like tax returns and pay stubs.

Being debt-free before your retirement is also possible by managing any existing credit card debt you might have. Make a list of all of your debts, and put them in order from greatest to least (or from the highest interest rate to the lowest). Focus on the highest amounts first and make extra payments if you can, until they are completely paid off.

Then, work your way down to the lower amounts. As your debts start to get eliminated, you can make larger payments on the other ones, and they will eventually be cleared. You can also use the “snowball method,” in which you pay off your smallest debts first, and use the extra money you’re saving to work on the larger debts.

In addition to eliminating your existing debt, change your financial habits if necessary to avoid getting into more. That might mean reducing the number of credit cards you carry or looking into different types of medical insurance that can help with bills in the future. Smart financial choices can quickly develop into healthy saving habits, which brings us to our next point.

Starting Healthy Financial Habits Now

The best way to financially prepare for early retirement is to develop smart saving habits now. Living frugally is a start, and making simple changes to everyday things like “date night” with your spouse or partner can make a big difference. Try some of the following switches to save money:

  • Dine in instead of going out
  • Try camping instead of vacationing in hotels
  • Host small get-togethers at your home instead of renting large spaces
  • Think of “free” activities to do around your neighborhood

You should also take a look at your budget and decide where you can cut back. Far too often, people are paying for things that they don’t use regularly. Are you signed up for any subscription services, including television packages or food delivery? How often do you use them? Are they absolutely necessary?

It might not seem like much, but cutting back on things you don’t use each month can end up saving you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars each year. You can put that money directly into savings, and see how quickly it will add up.

Early retirement is possible. No matter your current financial situation, making the right choices with your spending and knowing how to save properly can set you up to retire earlier than you may have thought you ever could, so you can enjoy your later years in life comfortably and securely.

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