1. Update your budget.
2. Create your retirement budget.
3. Calculate your nest egg.
Empower is free personal finance software that allows users to better manage their finances and track their net worth.
Empower is free personal finance software that allows users to better manage their finances and track their net worth.
Many of us over 50 already thinking about how to downsize for retirement and where to live for the rest of our lives.
However, downsizing can be a scary word.
The first reaction is to feel that downsizing means leaving the big house where you raised your kids and create priceless memories. Saying goodbye to a place you’ve called home for decades will be difficult for every family.
But you may want to make a change when the kids moved out and you realize there are only two of you living in that big 4-bedroom house. Getting closer to retirement is a good time to start evaluating what is important in your life.
By focusing on your priorities and passions, you can make space for the things that really matter. Downsizing to a smaller space could help you to simplify your life. It will allow you to shift focus from “maintaining stuff” towards experiencing life.
For many people downsizing also means reducing the cost of living, saving money and adding more to retirement funds.
Whether you want to save money, simplify your life, or be able to travel more, downsizing can be good for retirement living. Check out our tips to see if downsizing is the right choice for you.
We are all emotionally connected to our home. However, home-ownership comes with huge financial responsibilities. Housing is the largest expense for most people. Do you know how much your current home costs you? if not, it is time to sit down and calculate the combined cost of mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, repair, and renovations.
Average American household spends around $13,153 annually on home-related expenses without the cost of a mortgage. Our family spends more than $28,000 a year on mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance. This is 25 percent of our annual budget without the cost of major repairs or home improvements.
Downsizing is a big decision that will affect your finances. Here are some questions to answer:
Are your kids grown, and moved out of the house? Is it a big house with a big yard? Do you have more space than you need? Do you live in a high property tax area?
If the answers are yes, what keeps you in your home?
The smart choice will be to sell your home and move to a smaller home or condo. Downsizing to a smaller home or condo will help to reduce your utility bills, property taxes, and cost of maintenance. This way you can save more money by reducing the cost of ownership and get extra cash into your pocket today.
In addition to that, downsizing can significantly increase your retirement savings and affect the quality of your life in retirement. After the sale of your home, you will end up with extra money that can be invested. Or your mortgage payments will be reduced if you get a mortgage for a smaller home.
If you decide to sell your home and move out it will come with the price. Even a paid-off home cannot be sold for free. When you talk to a local realtor, you’ll find out information about the local real estate market and for how much you can sell your home. Once you get the estimated price, you should subtract from that number the following:
The final number will show how much money you’ll put in your pocket after a home sale.
Most people feel overwhelmed by the idea of selling home. But moving out add more apprehension to the whole process. Moving out of a home where you spent many years of living will come with additional expenses.
First, you need to decide what to do with all your belongings – what to keep and what to sell. Then you need to pack, figure out logistics and hire movers.
The average moving costs depend on your local area. Usually, local movers charge by the hour. In the Metro Boston area where we live to hire professional movers is very expensive. Once, we decide to move out it will cost us $119 per hour for 2 movers and truck, $139 per hour for 3 movers and truck and $169 per hour for 4 movers and truck.
According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost of a move is $2,300 within your state and $4,300 between states.
Over the years we have accumulated many things in our homes. We cherish our possessions and move them from shelf to shelf. There is an estimate showing that a quarter of Americans with two-car garages don’t use them for their cars, but as storage for family stuff.
Downsizing your family belongings can be a time-consuming process. And it will drain you emotionally and physically if not done without a good plan. If you’ve been living in your home for decades, it will take hours to go through everything you have accumulated.
First, you need to decide what is important and what you absolutely need to keep. Then pick what you want to sell, give away, or toss.
There are pros and cons to both renting and buying for retirement. I know that most people prefer to live in their own homes because of feeling safe and independent. However, there are still many good reasons for renting in retirement.
When you’re getting closer to retirement you no longer want the hassles of maintaining a large home. You don’t need to live in that 2,500 square feet house with a big yard if it’s just two of you. You are tired of mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or fixing faucets and lights.
You need less space and you want someone else to take care of the place. That’s why becoming a renter might be your option. You would like to have a janitor who would fix a leak in your bathroom and someone else would cut the grass and water the flower beds.
As a renter, you would have more free time and less maintenance. Your time will be spent on playing golf, visiting your kids and grandkids, going to an art gallery, or traveling the world and explore new places. And it is easy to pack up and move somewhere else if you want to travel or become a snowbird. You don’t have to worry about renting out or selling your home.
Have you thought about if you going to be happy living in a small space? If you decide to downsize and move from 2,500-square-feet to 700-square-feet condo, you need to consider how it will affect your new lifestyle.
Do you like to entertain and throw big parties? Do you have a big family and expect many overnight guests? Will you need extra space for a hobby?
The rooms will be smaller in your new home. And you might feel it difficult to visualize the new layout of your furniture, sports equipment, and other belongings in those rooms. In this situation, you probably should consider selling most of your big furniture pieces including dining sets and travel lightweight to your new home.
Moving out of your home to a new place could be incredibly stressful. You have to take all your possessions, memories and the lifestyle you’ve created over many years and turn it upside down. For most of us, it’s comforting to retire at home. For others, it’s a new way to explore the world.
Retirement should be an exciting stage of our lives. And ideally, it should be all about crossing items off our bucket list. But if we stay in that big house after the kids moved out, we will spend a lot of time maintaining it. Downsizing and moving to a smaller place can simplify our life. It will give us more time to hang out with grand kids, time to travel and see the world, or just do what we like to do, but never got to it.
What are your thoughts on downsizing for retirement? Share your ideas with us in the comments below.
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The world has changed. A couple of months ago nobody heard about Coronavirus. It was an unknown disease with symptoms of flu spreading and killing people fast. A couple of months ago, we have heard about Coronavirus outbreak in distant places, but today, it came to our doorsteps.
We’re all got affected by the crisis caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Schools and universities are closed, major concerts and sporting events are canceled. There are hardly any people walking along the quiet streets. With travel ban restrictions, the whole travel industry is almost shut down. It’s hard to predict what will happen next week or next month.
We all have fears. We don’t know what will happen next. But we can prepare and become more resilient to our worries and anxiety. Each crisis feels like the end of the world. It’s hard not to fall victim to the terrifying news.
Like most people, I have more questions than answers in my head.
I try to stay calm and don’t make any foolish financial moves. I believe that despite a terrifying global crisis, the world will go on, and the stock market will recover to reach new highs in the future.
The virus has a major effect on our wallets. The stock market is down, and many people are afraid to look at their retirement portfolios. Honestly, I am one of them. A week ago, I checked our portfolio and have learned that we lost several thousand dollars. I have made some quick adjustments and placed tighter trailing stops to several stocks I am still holding in our portfolios. But a week later, I have no stomach to look at it again.
We all watch how the stock market continued to crash. At this moment the market reaction to the coronavirus is like a dotcom crash, 9/11 or a financial crisis of 2008. The past market downturns always taught us a good lesson of having cash reserves.
Cash is King! We have all heard that statement, and it is true. If you’re close to retirement, you should have a chunk of your savings in cash. You should have enough cash to cover your living expenses for one or two years, so you can ride out market downturns. You don’t want to start depleting your retirement accounts at the wrong time.
Furthermore, it’s important to have emergency savings for anything unplanned like home and car repairs, unexpected medical bill or an emergency trip to family or a friend.
The financial experts recommend having 3 to 6 months’ worth of your living expenses while you’re working. When you retire and living of the fixed income, it’s wise to have up to 12 months saved in your emergency fund.
The virus has a major effect on our lives. During this pandemic we have to practice social distancing, minimize social interaction and stop most of our activities. But we need to stay positive and focus on the future.
Unfortunately, the recent market crash changed many baby boomer’s retirement plans. If you were planning to retire this year or even next year, you may need to change this decision and give your portfolio extra time to recover.
Even the stock market appears to be in a bad shape, this is not the first time it’s facing the global crisis. The good news is that the market has a long history of recovering from declines and crashes. Therefore, don’t drive yourself crazy checking your 401(k), IRA or Roth balance every day. Instead, keep working and funding your retirement accounts.
Right now, it is a good time to invest in low prices. If you stick with your regular retirement plan contributions, there is a good chance you’ll be better off when this crisis is over.
Stay as flexible as possible. If you are close to full retirement age and planning to retire this year, you may need to re-evaluate the time of your retirement. Delaying retirement and claim of your Social Security for a year or two will help to boost the benefit. After all, you will lock in a higher Social Security paycheck for life.
There is a lot of uncertainty and terrifying news in the world today. It’s a difficult time for all baby boomers. You could be in a very stressful situation if you’re getting closer to retirement or mapping out your retirement planning.
Therefore, the best thing you can do is to stay calm and don’t panic. You’ll only lock in losses if you start selling your stocks or mutual funds while they’re down. It may be nerve-wracking to see money evaporating from your retirement portfolio.
But don’t make any rash decisions and sell your assets, because you’ll regret it later. Remember that these bad times shall pass, the stock market will recover, and you’ll be in a strong position to retire once it does.
If you want to know more about coronavirus and retirement planning head to an article by Forbes:
This is a new world for all of us and many people are required to work from home for the next several weeks.
Honestly, I don’t like to work from home for a long period of time. I cannot focus on my work and get sidetracked easily. Instead of working, I would start cooking or cleaning. I know that many people would agree with me because they have a hard time getting anything done as well.
I have a few tips on how to work from home:
Create a dedicated work area. Roman and I are both working from home and each of us has a dedicated work area. He works upstairs in his office and I work downstairs in mine. Not everyone has the ability to create two separate home offices. But you can try at least to create a work area. Having a dedicated work area will help you separate work and life and to stay focused and organized.
Have a daily work schedule. I am a big advocate for a daily work schedule. When working from home, I am up at 6 a.m. and start working as soon as I am done with taking a shower and a quick morning exercise. I use the same routine as I would be getting ready to go to the office. It helps me mentally get into the “work mood” each day. In addition to that, you can set up a starting and ending time, lunch break time, or even time for your quick walk around the neighborhood.
Don’t watch TV and cut out social media. While working from home, you have to be efficient with time. During the day it’s so easy to get distracted with TV news or Netflix movies and then trying to catch up with work at night. While social media and TV is great, but you have to be careful and don’t let it impact your work in a negative way.
These days, it can feel that the world is full of nothing but bad news. We’re in the midst of Coronavirus pandemic and for many people, the uncertainty is the hardest thing to handle. Every day when I open my laptop or turn on the TV to watch the news, my heart gets filled with fear of unknown. However, there are many ways to manage your anxieties.
Stay informed, but don’t get obsessed with the news. Experts recommend setting a limit on how much time you spend consuming information each day. Constant monitoring of news and social media can fuel your anxiety. It’s better to step away from the following media if you start feeling overwhelmed. I should stick to these rules and reduce my exposure to any news. It will help me to stay calm and positive about the future.
Focus on what you can control and leave what you can’t. We live in a time of global crisis caused by the Coronavirus and there are many things outside of our control. We need to shift our focus on what we can control. We can’t control how fast the Coronavirus is spreading through the whole country, but we can take steps to reduce our personal risk to get infected:
Take care of your body and spirit. We all know that staying active helps to relieve stress and release anxiety. While the gyms are closed, you can still walk, hike or cycle. If you stuck at home, there are many things you can do even without equipment, such as yoga and exercise. Look online for exercise videos so you can follow and practice.
Get out in nature, enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Even a walk around your neighborhood can make you feel better and improve your mood. Just be sure to avoid crowds and keep your distance from other people.
Eat healthy food. Coronavirus pandemic is affecting every aspect of our lives. Eating more meals at home is a new routine for many families. Healthy meals should include a big portion of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grain. Meat portions should be smaller.
When you stock up your pantry or a freezer go easy on the frozen dinners because most are high in sodium, fat, and calories. Limit purchases of chips, cookies, sodas and ice cream. They are high in empty calories.
I like to cook. Most of our meals are homemade from fresh ingredients. We stocked up a bit to prepare for any supermarkets supply interruptions caused by the Coronavirus. Otherwise, our grocery shopping was normal in the past few weeks, besides the lack of toilet paper and paper towels.
The travel and leisure industry got affected the most by Coronavirus pandemic. We were planning to go on the Greek Islands cruise at the beginning of May. We booked our plane tickets, three-nights in charming hotel in Athens and paid a cruise deposit to Celestyal Cruises. A few weeks ago, we had to call and cancel our cruise reservation before the company charge us a full amount.
Right now, we are in the process of trying to get a refund from Lufthansa airline. Even we bought travel insurance, it’s not that easy to get a full refund by canceling the trip. Most of our travel expenses were easy to cancel with or without penalty. So far, I hope that we can still go on vacation this year when the Coronavirus will be more contained.
Coronavirus has changed our life. It has changed how we live and work. Schools and universities are closed, big events canceled, and many people are working from home. Each of us are jugging a different set of challenges. It’s hard to deal with these sudden and dramatic changes which affected the whole world. Many countries are facing huge economic fallout caused by COVID-19.
In times like this, it’s important to take a deep breath, and not to dwell on the bad news. So, let’s not be hard on ourselves or one another. Let’s rise to the challenge together, with compassion and resilience. I do believe that eventually the Coronavirus will be contained. The economy and stock market will recover as it has many times before. Our life will go back to normal as it has many times before.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
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If you are a baby boomer, your retirement planning shouldn’t be complicated. You don’t need to have a degree in finance. There are a few simple steps needs to be done in your early working years and the rest you can figure out in the years before retirement.
When you are in your 20’s, finally out of school and start making money, your first financial goal is to save money. At that age, your priorities don’t include reading books about retirement planning. But we all know that if you don’t start on that road early it will get harder with each passing year.
Retirement looks like a distant future even in our 40’s. For many years my retirement goals were mostly vague because there were so many years ahead of my life.
But after I turned 50, everything has changed. I started to feel that the distant future begins itching much closer with every day. I know that many people get serious about planning for their retirement when they reach their 50’s. At this point in your life, you started to understand that you need to be more realistic about what lies ahead of you.
As baby boomers, we need to start preparing ourselves and our finances for the transitioning from the “far away retirement’ to the ‘around the corner”.
If you are a baby boomer, I want to share several steps you need to take to help you prepare for retirement:
When you are in 5 to 10 years before retirement it’s crucial to decide what exactly you want to do in retirement. Your retirement is not far away anymore, it’s rather very close. The more details you can put into imagining the days of your retirement, the better job you will do preparing for that life. It’s important to decide first what your retirement dreams are, then you can move on making it happen.
Some people dreaming about traveling the world or buying a boat. Others are all about living close to the family, gardening, and volunteering. It’s important to remember that you can’t plan retirement without knowing what you want to do in it. I think it’s time to discover your passion. You’ll need to dig deep inside yourself to determine what excites you. You’ll have to have a reason to get out of bed every day.
Imagine in detail how would you spend your days when you stop working:
Did you think about where would you live? Are you planning to relocate to a different city or state? Do you want to live closer to your family or your friends?
How active are you? Are you healthy? What are you doing to stay healthy?
Answering these questions is important because it will help you to figure out how much your retirement will cost.
The next step is to figure out what do you need to do to make your dreams come true.
Once you wrote down the list of your dreams, you can start working on your goals. Dreaming about retirement is not enough, you need to know if you have enough cash to support your lifestyle without regular employer paycheck.
Start by estimating how much money do you need to support the lifestyle of your dreams. Where you live and what you prefer to do will determine the cost of retirement.
If you haven’t done any retirement estimates yet, I would recommend start playing with online retirement calculators. The online calculators will help you to see how much income you will have in retirement based on your current savings and investments. You can play around with decisions like your retirement date, the rate of return on your investments, rate of inflation and see how these things will affect your future income.
However, most online retirement calculators will give you only a broad overview of your retirement plan, because they are based on future expectations.
Don’t forget to include your Social Security benefits into retirement income calculations. It’s true that for most of the baby boomers the best strategy for maximizing our Social Security benefits is to wait until age 70. This usually results in tens of thousands more in lifetime income than retire at age 62.
Unfortunately, to follow this rule is not always happen in real life. Everyone has their own set of circumstances. But I would recommend looking at your Social Security benefits and see how the retirement age will affect your future income.
Be clear on your goals.
My goal is to retire at 67 and be able to spend $50,000 per year during retirement. Roman and I like to travel, and we want to spend our time traveling to the places we have on our retirement bucket list. Spending $50,000 while traveling the world might not be a realistic goal because we still need to pay our bills. But I like to dream a little. We can always change things later and modify our plan based on our retirement income.
If you are in the process of creating your detailed retirement plan, first you need to know how much it will cost you to live once you retire.
There are several options to calculate that number:
The most popular rule of thumb is to calculate a ballpark number. The estimate is often called “multiply by 25 rule”. This rule works as a guide to how much you should save before you retire. So, to determine how much money you’ll need in retirement, multiply your desired annual income by 25.
For example, you plan on withdrawing $30,000 from your retirement savings each year.
$30,000 x 25 = $750,000 – you need to have in your retirement savings
If you plan on withdrawing $50,000 from your retirement savings each year you will need to save:
$50,000 x 25 = 1.25 million
But keep in mind that this rule doesn’t’ factor in other sources of your retirement income like Social Security, pension or rental income.
The cost of living number: use your cost of living now (your current spending) and calculate 70% as for your future spending. So, if you are earning $100,000 a year, you should plan on living on roughly $70,000 a year to keep the same lifestyle. Statistics show that we will spend less money when we retire.
Once you go through all these calculations you may discover that you don’t have enough money saved to achieve your goals.
What to do?
The first step will be to increase your savings. How much do you save in your retirement accounts? Saving 10% might not be enough if you are 5 to 10 years away from retirement. You need to increase your savings by at least 20%.
If saving more money is not an option, the next step will be to start looking at your spending and see if you can spend less. Most people believe that saving and investing are the most important steps while preparing for retirement. However, your spending plan will determine if you are going to have a happy retirement. Think about it. You can make $75,000 a year in retirement, but if you spend $150,000, you are not going to stay retired too long.
Downsizing can be a very scary word. Many people think that having fewer things means letting the world know that you can’t afford the “big life”. Home-ownership is special. We are emotionally connected to our home. However, our homes come with huge financial responsibilities. You have to pay for your mortgage and home insurance. You have to heat it in winter and cool it in summer. Home repairs, renovations, and yard work require money.
Is it time to downsize your home? If your kids off to college or grown and out of the house maybe you have more space than you need. Downsizing could be a positive thing if you move to a smaller home with less of a financial burden.
If you paid off your mortgage and own your home, you might consider renting it and moving to a condo or a smaller home in another part of the city or town. Being a landlord is not an easy task, but you can use rent as an additional source of income in retirement.
When you are moving to a smaller space, it’s always best to sell what you can’t take with you than to rent storage space. I have heard about many people who still pay for their storage units but haven’t open them for years. Don’t waste your hard-earned money on stuff you don’t need anymore.
Downsizing your transportation might be another way of finding more money in your pocket. If a sizeable chunk of your income goes into maintaining several cars or driving a luxury car, I would suggest downsizing or choose a different car so that you can save and invest more.
Many people choose to lease their cars because they want a new car every few years. Buying a good used car, rather than a new one for their image is always a good option. When you think about, the cost of buying would be less expensive than leasing it for the long run. Also, a car is considered as a depreciating asset and loses its value faster than you imagine.
Roman and I have discussed our downsizing opportunities and planning to sell our house and move to a smaller one, preferably condo. We also want to downsize from two cars to one. All these actions will save us a lot of money and eventually will allow us to spend more in retirement on our dream lifestyle.
Think about how big and small choices related to your health now will determine options for your future. What you eat, how you exercise or exercise at all, and other healthy choices will impact who you are in 10 or 20 years.
I have read many articles showing that baby boomers are in serious denial when it comes to their medical and long-term care costs. Yes, Medicare provides health insurance, but it doesn’t pay for all medical costs and it doesn’t’ pay for long-term supports and services at all. Many believe that they will only need about $50,000 to pay for their health care in retirement. Sadly, they are wrong.
We all know that medical insurance is essential even it can be expensive. A sudden medical emergency or serious illness can wipe out your savings. According to Fidelity’s new studies a 65-year old couple retiring in 2019 can expect to spend $285,000 in health care and medical expenses throughout retirement.
If you are not active or eat poorly, now is the time to build healthy habits. Being active, exercising and eating right can add more years to your life. Visit your doctor, get regular checkups and screenings so that if any problems get caught early you can do something about them. Taking care of your health now is important so you can live a long, healthy and happy life in retirement.
There are many things to consider when you start working on your personal retirement plan. I read all the time about financial surveys indicating that many baby boomers are short on their retirement savings or lack any kind of planning for retirement.
Don’t be that person. Take the time for these 5 steps so you’ll be on your way to generating a solid retirement plan and feel ready for the retirement of your dreams.
Do you have a list of your retirement goals? Did you work on your retirement plan? Do you feel ready for retirement?