For those readers who are still pre retirement , I would like to say a few things about balancing the budget once your only payday is the fourth Wednesday of the month. Yes, we have those ever vulnerable 401 K accounts, yes there are other savings. We are trying to delay taking my full benefit until my 70th birthday. I can gain 8% a year each year after age 66 to increase to my final benefit number. This is an interest rate that only the federal government seems to be able to give you on your lifetime investment of paycheck contributions.
For those of you who have not yet discovered what that will bring you , take a deep breath. Here is a link takes you directly to what your social security benefit would be:
If you are already collecting a spousal benefit, you have your own social security account page. But guess what, if you want to review what each additional year will bring in terms of increased social security benefit, there does not seem to be any easy way to access that information. So I hope you saved the last statement and can use a calculator, because you can’t find it on the SSA website!
There are lots of recommended percentages out there when it comes to saving/spending money in retirement. As I had quoted in an earlier post, you are not supposed to move and downsize unless you can take 25% off your monthly expenses. Financial planners say you need 70% of your former income to retain your life style. Given the limited savings and lame 401ks, I say whose lifestyle?
We are trying to live on our social security and small pensions without touching savings so that some day the surviving spouse will be able to live on more than the larger of our two benefits. Is this making you dizzy yet?
You have to consider what your priorities are. Some people spend much more on travel in their early retirement years , the infamous go-go stage. Your priorities are just that, your priorities. It is always tempting to touch that piggy bank and expand the limits of the monthly budget. Spending money in retirement has its ups and downs as you realize what fixed income really means. Yet sometimes those extra expenditures, those splurges, can be the source of great enjoyment and good memories. Make memories you can have in your no go stage.
But with our generation’s possibility of increased longevity, that also means more years to support ourselves in whatever manner we can. The balancing act each month can be frustrating. Dental insurance covers less. The houses we plan to age out in need upkeep. And of course other medical expenses can always come out of left field.
So find what works to balance your need to fully participate in your golden years. You do not have to spend thousands of dollars on a river cruise. Do you know a senior pass to all of the National Parks is only a $10 one time fee and you can take 3 others with you. If you have a hobby or discover a new one that makes you think positively about life, pursue it!
No single month of dipping into the next will break the bank. Maybe the next month it will dip back the other way. Maybe age discrimination will not keep you from that part time job you actually enjoy. Try not to fear your financial future so much that you miss the simple joys in the here and now.