I am new to this website but is there anyway you can include an option for larger font like other websites. My eyes have difficulty with these small fonts.
I use the Firefox browser a lot. There is an option in the menu called "View" -> "Zoom In" that allows one to increase the size of the font used in the browser for the current page. I use this on some pages that display small fonts.
I also found an option in the menu "Firefox" -> "Preferences" -> "Content" that may permanently increase the display font in all pages. I have not tested it.
I'm not sure if this trick is tied to Windows itself or my Google browser, but the quickest way to zoom up or down is to hold down the Ctrl key and then hit either the Plus or Minus key (no shifting required).
To enlarge print - use your Control key along with the Plus Sign - on your keyboard
Thanks for the heads up about the earnings limit for participation in ObamaCare health insurance. My current COBRA health insurance plans runs out 6 months before I reach 65 and I'm going to need some kind of insurance during that time. I'm right on the borderline of income. I guess I need to make sure I keep my spending down so I meet those requirements. Thanks again.
I am surprised that nobody has recommended looking into an annuity with some of or all of your retirement savings. I did not think to mention it because my disposition and our circumstances no not make it necessary, but over on another TIAA-CREF forum there are some really, really savvy university types that swear by annuities.
It sounds as if your husband is suggesting that you take the spousal benefit at age 66, which can be a good plan because that would allow your own SS to continue to grow until age 70 and meanwhile you will be getting the spousal benefit which is half of your husband's FRA benefit. However, if you need the income it could be a problem. It might be worth delaying retirement until 66 if possible. But I would consult with a financial adviser. There may be some other options, such as taking some distributions from a deferred compensation retirement account. A good adviser can run the numbers and give you some options.
Chuck, I am no financial whiz, but saving on essentials is important as you point out. Regarding utilities, I rationalize the cost of a good Internet connection by using it for our Internet phone. May I suggest that you look at Vonage. The cable and regular carriers tend to play pricing games. Also, regarding Internet, I regularly go into our cable company and tell them that their bill is too high and ask what they can do. You might be surprised how willing they are to help out especially if you are in an area with competition.
Another reason for good Internet service is it's an incredible research tool when buying anything. If you have the time, "shop until you drop" is a reality with the Internet. Just going to Amazon and researching items, checking recommendations, getting free shipping and then delivery right to the door can save you big bucks and minimize transportation needs. The bigger the item cost, the more important to research the heck out of it for price AND quality since you want it to last forever.
Another idea that you may have already discovered regarding TV service is to purchase an amplified TV antenna for $30-40. In an urban area like Boston you should be able to get all of the channels like CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, Fox and maybe a few more. We are in a small urban area and we can get many of these. Actually when I want the best quality picture and sound for PBS music programs I routinely switch to the antenna - it's great!
A few degrees lower on the heat at night, a few degrees warmer on the AC, turning off the electric when possible, a little caulking/weatherizing, and things like this can save some needed dollars. Have you looked into utility help from your local utilities?
Chuck, I hope that there are a few ideas for you.
I've considered a long term health insurance plan as you mentioned, but at 62 I'm not sure if the premiums would be affordable. May I ask who your plan is with?
To pattersed: Since you ask of me a specific question (I assume, it is addressed to me only) and since we cannot use brand names, my answer is actually very easy: I try to keep a healthy lifestyle, exercise, eat right, and opted OUT of any supplemental long term insurance.
My medical bills would be higher were Medicate not running interference for me and making my twice a year medic visit to $22.09 co-pay. Eye care is more expensive since it eats up my deductible, but then all I need is another $75 to cover two additional visits. My every three year colonoscopy is only a couple hundred bucks copay, blood work is covered by Medicare. Without Medicare, some doctor visits would be over $300! BTW, even all my drugs have been toally free for the past couple of years, but then they do not fall under long term care!
I figure I saved myself easily $50K over the past 18 years (born 1935). Plus my wish is to lead life to the fullest so when I finally leave my apartment, it will be feet first.
I am not depressed, just cannot fathom how an army of financial advisers leech a living off poor retirees. This is payback time for me, because frankly I do not want to live under long term care. Just my personal point of view, to each his own.
Hope this helps pattersed
FYI: Every man in my family dropped from a sudden strole.
Long term care insurance gets more expensive the longer you wait to purchase it. You are correct in thinking you will probably not get a good rate at 62. But it is worth checking anyway, particularly if your health is excellent and you would qualify for the good health discount. It is a broken record but consulting with a financial adviser would be a good step before committing to any kind of insurance, annuities, etc. They can help you weigh the benefits and risks of various strategies.
I tried to see if I had addressed my views on LTC here and could not find it. I apologize if I am being redundant.
We have looked at the cost and lack of uniformity in various LTC choices. We always come up with skipping it. Recently, as our Roth accounts have grown due to a lengthy period of IRA -> Roth conversions, it has occurred to us that our Roth's are a valid option for unexpected LTC costs. We get to save the premiums until or if we need them and any withdrawals are tax-free. Yes, it will cost us if the the LTC needs get large, but the uncertainty of the coverage by formal LTC insurance companies and the lack of clarity about their coverage make this feel like an acceptable alternative to us. GOOD LUCK!!!! :-))))
Thank you for your perspective on LTC.
I am 71 and still working part time plus collecting S.S. I plan on retiring on income of S.S. and an annuity that will give me around $43000 a year minus income taxes. I have a young son who is just graduating from high school in May, who is 18 now. I hope I will have enough to be comfortable. I plan on down sizing my home to a smaller condo with less property tax plus less maintenance costs. I will also have a "cushion" of about $80,000 for unexpected costs. I own my car but will probably have to get a new one in a few years. My son will be going to community college for his first two years and living with me, I saved about $32,000 for him and once that is gone, he rest of his education will be up to him. I hope I can afford my health insurance for the next 20 years!
We do it easily. But the trick is to get in good shape before you retire. We paid off our house first and then began living on $40,000 and saving the rest except for emergencies, just to get used to it.
I would suggest cutting back on your lifestyle to fit your retirement income several years before you retire
SURE I GET ALONG FINE I LIVE IN ST LOUIS AND THE COST OF LIVING IS NOT AS HIGH AS OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.
I TRAVEL AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR
I had a very similar situation, found myself at age 60 knowing that one more year sitting at that desk was going to cost me so much more than any future retirement savings would net. So I retired with 2 defined pensions plans, and less of a portfolio than you. And I'm fine! Matter of fact, at just under $40k, living in a nice urban area, making a smallish mortgage payment, no car payment, no credit bills, I'm able to do pretty much what I want and still save money. I don't "shop" for entertainment or exercise, and my big vacations will be every other year, rather than annually, but I have plenty to spare for smaller vacations in between. Sounds like you know more than enough about how to handle your money, make a budget, and stick to a plan. Make a change while you have your health! And best wishes..
Thanks CelineP! Appreciate the encouragement...
How Delaying Social Security Can Be The Best Long-Term Investment Or Annuity Money Can Buy | Kitces.com
This article is one of the best recommended on understanding delaying registering for Social Security. Several people have posted on the significance of waiting and drawing on 1/2 of your spouse's SS.
I think $40K annual income is low for 2 people to live on in metropolitan areas. For one it probably is enough generally.
As we age, even though we cut back on our expenses you will still want extra income for travel or new car. One way to gain extra income is you can rent out a room for vacationers on airbnb, or share your house monthly, or even rent your whole house and you go rent an apartment. These additional funds help your budget and may allow you to travel and do more. To travel when you are healthy, you could rent your whole house and use the money to pay for living costs in your destination. To pay for airfare, you could use credit cards that reward miles for everything you purchase. Pay your bills with your credit card and pay off the balance every month to avoid interest charges. You can earn enough miles to get a *free* flight to Europe or across the USA. There are many inexpensive places to live in Europe that do not require a car. If you like cruising, some cruises can be very affordable at $50-60 a night. I figured that once we become mobility-challenged and age has overcome our energy levels, we will not be travelling. So the next step in my research found that the cost for assisted living centers around the USA seem to be fairly consistent at requiring $3-4K a month at this time. Hope this helps.
To your point Smilesback, I think I will be working long term care insurance into the budget so that assisted living center costs per month won't break the piggy bank...
As a minimum, I expect I could survive on my Social Security benefit and my annuity ($10K/year). I would not like it, and I suppose I could make it on $40K, but living like that would not make retirement fun. I would probably lean on my kids for any social activity, would have to forgo my car; a paid up car is only good till the next big bill (new tires anyone) or until I have to pay my insurance premium. I could manage because I am ambulatory and the nearest store is about a mile away, but what if I cannot make it, or must see a doctor.
So you can see, while your financial needs in retirement are expected to be less, unforeseen expenses do crop up. Short of getting yourself locked up in a Correctional Facility, you are on your own. That message needs to be driven to the legion of future retirees who have even less of a future than you have.
Life like marriage is good, as long as there is plenty of money!
Many, many variables. Where do you live. I would suggest you keep a very careful record of your expenses during at least 1/4 of a year. An entire year would be preferable once it would include birthdays, holidays, medical, etc.
From my estimation, unless you live in a really inexpensive area of the country, are currently healthy, plan to drive your car for many years, and have no hereditary illness possibilities, this is still not that easy to do. Have you contacted a financial planner, accountant, etc.? The inflation figure seems low at 1.5. Everything will go up in 20 years, let alone 30, if you have good health. Do you want to work again? This may be necessary, should anything unforeseen happen. Good luck!
Lisa, I think there is plenty of good advice being offered about the potential devastating financial affects of unforseen medical situations. Face it - there's not much good news in this getting old business! We've been retired for 14 years, and we can guarantee you that you will need medical care at some point and it will not all be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. You are going to have some out-of-pocket expenses, and if you are living on the threshold of poverty, life is not going to be much fun. My advice is to tough it out and wait until you are 65 and eligible for Medicare. Also if you are eligible for Social Security, the additional contributions will enhance your monthly payout. I think most people make a mistake by taking an overly optimistic outlook when doing the financial planning for retirement and do not consider the reality that old people are going to get sick!
Go El Natural and get back to the Garden!;
Plenty of people in Alabama live on 40k for a family of 4, which is right about the poverty level.. Get a small vegetable plot and grow, freeze, and cann all the vegetables you need in a year. If you are zoned for it get a small flock of chickens for eggs and meat. Nit and repair all your own clothes and learn how to fix all the appliances, small engine equipment, and cars you have by yourself. Shop at GoodWill, flee markets, and Dollar Stores, and use the food bank if they will accept you. Be resourcefull, use coupons, and never buy anything new, nor pay full price for anything.Have a yard sale and sell everying in your house that you have not used in the past year. A penny saved is a penny earned. You may think that is too draconian, but many millionares made their money by saving money and many still do. Don't worry about leaving your family members anything and have only enough money for a cremation.
The end of this August will complete our first three years. If by 40K per year you mean 40K each.
It's all relative. $40k would be wonderful to some, but not to others. My own dear mother would be absoultely thrilled with $40k income. Her CD rates are near zero, and she is making it on her SS and some savings. It's a stuggle, but she's cheerful, doesn't complain, and refuses financial help, as she wants to remain independent for as long as possible.
For those of us who are easily over the $40k annual retirement income threshold, and would consider an amount below that to be sub-par living, we should know how absolutely fortunate we are. Because there are many who can only dream of that income level in retirement, especially when that's not including SS or other pension income. Not to mention a married couple who EACH receive $40k, plus SS and other pension income... 'Count your blessings,' readily comes to my mind; hopefully to yours, too.
Thanks for putting this question on the forum. I was downsized from a job I didn't really like anymore and have spent the last year reducing my spending and trying to figure out if I really can fully "retire" on what I have (which is around the $40,000 mark you used) or do I need to get a part time job? Meanwhile I've been pursuing interesting career possibilities I wasn't able to commit to while working full time. I live in a big city, am rent stabilized, see plays and concerts on discounted tickets, volunteer at a museum so I can go to any museum in town for free, download books from the library, and there is always plenty of free entertainment around especially in the summer to go to with friends. All the replies here were extremely helpful and opened up some additional ways to think about how to downsize even more and still enjoy life with what I have. I find that so much of life is about attitude. Thanks again to everyone for sharing your ideas.
>>richj said "..we can guarantee you that you will need medical care at some point and it will not all be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. You are going to have some out-of-pocket expenses, ">>
Where many people go wrong in DIY planning is that (1) they're too optimistic - your 1.5% inflation figure is historically inaccurate; you need to 'stress test' your assumptions against the WORST that can happen, not assume that only one bad thing will happen intermittently. You need to be reasonably certain if two or three crises happen around the same time, you will be able to cope financially.
And (2) most people are not experienced in estimating their mortality risk; in fact, on average they underestimate it. When studies say that the fastest growing group of people in the world is the group aged 80-100, this includes you too. My MIL literally could not wrap her mind around the idea of living to 100 until we moved her to a senior facility, when she met her new three tablemates in the dining room, she was told at 84-1/2 she was "the young one" - the oldest woman at the table (who has in fact now outlived my MIL) was already 101 yrs old and this month will celebrate her 103rd birthday!
Putting aside the cost of long term care, which is not covered by Medicare, only by Medicaid (for the poor), financial planning needs to balance your expected morbidity/mortality risks. One of the reasons Medicare is running out of funds faster than SocSec is that 80% of its expenditures are spent on the sickest 20% of members. As it is, on average (IOW, averaging the healthiest and the sickest) Medicare pays approximately 51% of a senior's TOTAL lifetime medical costs.
LTC costs will depend upon where you live. In high-cost labor areas like where I live, the cost for a good quality 24/7 care facility is around $96K/yr.; rate increases average 3-5% every year.
Point of interest jkom51, I read a while back that 90% + of our medical expenses are incurred in the last year of life. Also I had done my financial planning based on a 90 year life expectancy (Father lived to 76, mother to 92). Tiaa-Cref is telling me to raise it to 92 when they do their calculations.
Finally as I always said, it is more important to live according to your needs, rather than according to your means or any other consideration like a windfall. If you are honest, you will realize your needs are indeed quite modest, probably closer to $30 than $40K. Beyond that, if you have anything leftover, the rest is gravy to enjoy the great life and to prepare for unexpected medical bills.
Last thing you should worry about is leaving anything behind. I would rather spend my money on my kids today, so I know where it goes, rather than hope they will do the right thing, when I am gone, and I shall not know where the money went.
I see a lot of people talking about the cost of owning a car here. One thing to reconsider as you get ready to retire is your vehicle needs. Depending on where you live and what kind of public transportation is available you might want to consider doing without a car and saving the cost of repairs, gasoline, insurance, etc. Depending on your community, a bicycle can be a reasonable alternative. The occasional taxi ride when necessary is quite affordable given what you are saving by not owning a car. Some communities have Zipcar, etc. When you really have to have a car for a trip you can rent one. There are variations on this - having a paid off older car which you only carry liability insurance on and only use for short trips around town where a breakdown is not so serious (But something like AAA is a good idea for peace of mind). Then rent a car when you need the reliability of a newer car for a trip etc.
I agree Herbyreed, this is why I chose my apartment to be just about a mile from a Wal-Mart. This allows me to walk there, except when I have to carry heavy items, but it is Ok for prescriptions or just a few things I need. I also made sure my three specialists (GP, eye and skin) are within walking distance, although they are a couple of miles away.
Still you can lease a car for about $200 a month and not have to worry about repairs, insurance is as much as the lease value and gas is still cheap when cars nowadays get over 25 mpg.
another good point, by walking I make sure I get at least some exercise.
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