How Much Do You Need at Retirement?


Filed under Planning & Money

Many people, when they retire, don’t have much fun at all. Sure they no longer have to work, which is good. But, other than watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, they’re not really living the retirement life that they envisioned because they just don’t have the money for it.

They’ve never sat down and planned their retirement or figured out how much money they would need at retirement. And to do so is not very difficult. You simply have to imagine and think about your ideal life at retirement and estimate how much money it would take to live at that level. Your retirement expenses will usually fall into the categories like the following:

Mandatory Expenses:

Housing – Estimate your housing cost at the time you plan to retire. If you own a home, this will be your monthly mortgage amount. Don’t forget to include your annual real estate tax amount and housing upkeep costs. If you are renting, add your monthly rental amount. Other fees that might be included in this category are big item home expenses such as stove, refrigerator, water heater, and so on.

Transportation – How do you plan on getting around your town or city? If you plan on owning a car after retirement, estimate your annual car maintenance fee, gasoline costs, and automobile insurance. If you rely on public transportation such as trains or buses, estimate the cost of monthly passes and so on.

Food – Grocery store items. Don’t include dining out in this cost figure. Estimate the amount of money you will spend on a monthly basis for food for your family which should include yourself, your partner, and whoever else will be living with you when you retire.

Health – You have to have some money saved up for medical emergencies that Medicare or your insurance policy is not covering.

Home or rental Insurance – usually a small amount but add it anyway.

Optional Expenses:

Entertainment – everyone needs to relax at some point. Look at your current life style or the life style you would like to have at retirement and add those costs. Things like movies, plays, amusement parks, museums, and so on – all go on the list.

Savings – Just because you’re retired, doesn’t meant that you automatically stop saving. You may have plans on saving for your grand daughter’s schooling or a special trip for yourself and your wife. Include it all.

Travel – For many retirees, retirement is the first chance that they’ve had to do extensive traveling. Maybe you’ve always wanted a trip to Morocco, or India, or Russia. Estimate how much such a trip would cost and add it to the pot.

Hobbies – Some hobbies don’t cost much at all, they simply require your time. But if you have a hobby like collecting rare coins, gambling, or flying airplanes – you’d better have saved yourself a large cache of money if you want to enjoy your passion.

Gifts – You don’t want to stop giving gifts just because you’ve retired. Estimate how much money you will probably need in order to give gifts to friends, family, and loved ones.

Now add up these expenses. Totaling the dollar amounts of these expenses should give you a pretty fair estimate of the type of life you’d like to live when you retire and how much it will cost you. With luck, you’ll be able to have the type of retirement that you’ve always dreamed of.

Article by Eric Bayne

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