Retirement is often referred to as The Golden Years, and for many of us, it’s an opportunity to do some of the things we’ve always dreamed of doing. However, The Golden Years can also be a time of concern when it comes to ensuring our hard earned retirement savings last.
According to an April 2014 survey by PNC Bank, 53 percent of retirees are concerned they’ll run out of money in retirement. Nearly 40 percent of retirees age 64 and younger are already drawing from savings, and the majority of retirees—52 percent of those surveyed—have withdrawn money from their retirement savings without a strategy.
To avoid outlasting your savings, it’s important to stick to a budget.
Here are six creative ways you can enjoy your retirement without breaking the bank.
1. Take advantage of senior discounts; you’ve earned it!
There are a number of discounts out there for retirees. The problem is, many of them aren’t advertised. It’s up to you to ask about senior discounts wherever you go.
For a more extensive list of senior discounts in your area, AARP recommends Sciddy.com.
2. Visit the library.
Your local library is a great source of free entertainment and activities. Many libraries offer computer classes, book clubs, dance clubs, and even exercise groups. You can also check out DVDs at no charge (not to mention all the books you want, of course).
3. Reduce automobile costs.
If you’re part of a household that still has two cars, selling that extra one might be a good idea. You’ll make money on the sale of the car and you’ll also reduce your insurance costs because you won’t have to insure two vehicles. If you’re computer-savvy, look at online classified sites such as eBay Motors.
If you own only one vehicle but don’t use it that often, consider renting it out using a car-sharing website like RelayRides. Car-sharing websites allow you to rent out your car to another person for a rental price that you set. Insurance is covered, and you can vet all potential candidates.
4. Travel on a budget.
Travel is likely to make up part of your retirement picture, but it’s important that you don’t let the costs consume more of your finances than they should. . When traveling overseas, be sure to plan at least 90 days out to take advantage of the bestrates.
TIP: You may want to look into renting an apartment as opposed to a traditional hotel using a site like Airbnb or HomeAway. If you find accommodations with a kitchen, you can save even more by buying groceries and cooking instead of going to restaurants.
Traveling locally? Visit a daily deals website such as Groupon or LivingSocial, enter the zip code of your destination, and get vouchers for deals on restaurants and other entertainment activities. These vouchers can often be for more than half off the purchase price.
5. Volunteer your time.
If you’re looking for something to occupy your time, try volunteering. Local museums, hospitals, and zoos typically need people to help out with a number of services. There are plenty more options out there than meet the eye. Check out VolunteerMatch.org to find an opportunity that matches your interests.
6. Start a backyard garden.
Got a green thumb? Start a backyard garden. A flower garden can make for hours of entertainment as you plant, manage, and watch it grow. A vegetable garden can do the same, and it may also cut your grocery costs.
Be sure to follow all instructions on the seed packets, get your soil tested at your local extension office so you know what you can grow, and set aside enough time for maintenance.
What to know when you withdraw your retirement funds
No matter how closely you stick to your budget, the time will come that you’ll need to start drawing out your retirement funds. After all, this you’ve been saving those funds in order to use them when you leave the workforce. Experts have varying opinions on how much to withdraw. It’s long been advised that retirees draw down their savings at a rate of 4 percent of a portfolio’s value.
Now, some experts are predicting long-term low returns on investments and are advising that retirees don’t draw down more than 3 percent of their portfolio each year. That means if you’ve saved $500,000, you’ll be living on $15,000 a year before Social Security and any other sources of income. If you’ve saved $1 million, that number goes up to $30,000.
According to CNNMoney, your chance of running out of money at a 4 percent withdrawal rate stands at 57 percent, vs. 24 percent with a 3 percent withdrawal rate.
Live somewhat frugally, withdraw only what you need, and always look for a good deal—do those things and you’re sure to have a happy retirement. What other ways can you think of to live an enjoyable, budget-friendly retirement?
David Bakke writes about money management topics including insurance, retirement, investing, and credit.