Part of the process of determining if you can afford to retire, is to run the numbers to see if the amount of money you have saved plus any expected income you may receive from pensions and Social Security will cover all of your expected expenses throughout retirement.
After working with people for so many years, the one thing I have noticed is that many people have faithfully kept spreadsheets of their day-to-day living expenses and have used those figures to help create their retirement plan. People often come to me to check their thinking, when they are a few years away from retirement, to make sure they are on track to retire.
However, I often discover that people overlook the irregular expenses when planning for retirement on their own. And it is the irregular expenses that can derail a retirement plan, and cause stress and sleepless nights. The tricky thing of course is trying to see into the future and figure out what possible expenses can occur.
Here is list of some of the potential items that you might consider adding to your retirement plan. They won’t all pertain to you, but I hope they will get you thinking about what your retirement could look like, and help you plan for your future.
I often hear people say that they will just use the same car throughout retirement. And if you do not work with retired people on a regular basis like I do, I can see where you might think that. When you are pre-retirement age, retirement seems like a phase of life that is a mysterious unknown. So I ask them how often they replace their car, and I usually hear answers like every 6 years or every 10 years, and everything in between. A married couple that retires at 65 and drives until 85, replacing cars every 6 years, will buy 6 cars in retirement. I wrote a blog about the impact of inflation on car prices in retirement, many people are very surprised when I show them the expected price of the last car they will buy in retirement.
Travel for fun
When I ask people what they want to do when they retire, travel is one of the first things people say. If you see travel in your future, think about how often, and what type of travel, do some internet searching to get a ball park estimate of the cost that would be involved.
Travel to see the grandkids
Don’t forget about travel to see the grandkids, I mean your adult children. Who am I kidding? You are taking a trip to see those adorable grandkids! If your family is like so many these days, you might have to hop on a plane to feel those little arms wrapped around you. With Skype, you don’t have to be there to see them anymore. But no technology can replace an in-person visit. Trust me; you will want to plan for this expense.
50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration
In this day and age, fifty years of marriage is an especially wonderful milestone. Some families have a dinner reception, inviting extended family and close friends, which can be the size of a small wedding reception. I have also seen couples treat families to Disney vacations or to cruises. If you have dreams of recognizing a milestone with a special celebration, don’t forget to plan for it so that when the time comes, you can relax and enjoy it.
What? It isn’t free? No, I am sorry to have to tell you, it isn’t. And I find that I am often the first to break this news to people. Because if they have never had to help a family member through the process of signing up for Medicare and they are more than a few years away from retirement, then researching “How does Medicare work?” usually hasn’t crossed their mind. Luckily there are some good resources such as www.medicare.gov and for Missouri residents www.missouriclaim.org.
Long Term Care/Nursing Care
In 2012 the average annual cost of care in a nursing home in Missouri is approximately $55,000. The cost of nursing care has been increasing considerably faster than inflation. One way to offset the risk to your portfolio is to consider Long Term Care insurance that would cover a portion or all of the cost of care, depending on your risk tolerance and the affordability of the premium. I am a fee-only advisor so I do not offer insurance products, but I have recommended that some clients get Long Term Care insurance. Other clients have been able to self-insure, each situation is different. But you do need to consider the impact a stay would have on your portfolio. To learn more read my blog post Long Term Care Insurance: Protect your nest egg.
Big delayed purchases
Have you been dreaming of a cross country trip in a motor home? Or does the water call your name so a boat is more to your liking? Don’t forget to set aside some money for upkeep and repairs.
Home Improvements and Major Maintenance
If you are in your forever home, factoring in the large inevitable maintenance projects such as replacing a roof or HVAC system will help prevent money stress later on down the road. Also, after a few decades, kitchens and baths tend to need updates. Remodels with an eye toward aging gracefully in place are also becoming quite popular. Consider the age of your home and prior remodels when planning future income needs.
College and Wedding/Rehearsal Dinner
Depending on the age of your children, you may have college and wedding/rehearsal dinner expenses in retirement.
Care for a Family Member
Will a loved one be financially dependent upon you, such as a parent or a special needs child? If so, you might consider meeting with an elder care attorney or estate planning attorney that specializes in special needs trusts.
These are a few areas to consider in addition to everyday living expenses when you are creating your retirement plan.