It’s a scary season, what with Halloween just around the corner, and some of the fears looming large in people’s minds focus on retirement. So it’s probably pretty appropriate that we tackle some of those fears head on, so to speak.

The Huffington Post addressed just that topic, pointing out five things people who are not yet retired can do to ward off at least some of the effects of what experts predict: that people’s standard of living will fall during retirement, thanks to low savings levels and poor planning for the last stages of life.

We scouted around the web to find some additional data on why, and how, retirement is expected to fall so short of people’s anticipation, and what they might be able to do to forestall that drop in expectations. Here’s what we found:

5. Figure out where you’ll live

A person’s home might be his castle, but whether it will be a fortress surrounded by a moat or a gracious palace can depend a lot on that old real estate saw, location, location, location.

The cost of your retirement home, how much you’ll pay in property taxes, the cost of living in the area and many other factors determine whether that retirement Shangri-La will be a cozy cottage for two in a university town, a bungalow on the beach or a penthouse apartment overlooking sparkling city lights, with museums, restaurants and theaters within an easy stroll — maybe even in another country altogether.

But there are other intangibles to consider, too — such as whether you’ll be so forlorn at leaving family behind that you’ll either be miserable in situ or spend half your retirement budget traveling back to see the grandkids. And how good the health care facilities are in your new location — that can make a big difference not just in your budget, but maybe even in how long you survive to enjoy those golden years. Not to mention the crime rate and whether you’ll have a social support system in place.

Check out any prospective homes thoroughly before you make the big move, and make sure they have what you need to help you thrive during retirement.

4. Start saving more

While economizing might not be — or feel — glamorous, watching that 401(k) or IRA balance climb can certainly make you feel like a million bucks. Keep that in mind as you’re browsing for a new set of golf clubs or that perfect dress for a special evening out — especially if you don’t plan on playing golf in retirement or dining out on the town, because spending now could cost you big-time later on.

According to AARP data, 3 out of 5 — that’s more than half, folks — of the households headed by someone 65 years old or older have zero money in retirement accounts. That’s zero, as in zip, nada, nothing. How far into retirement will that get you? Into a job, most likely, working during the time that’s supposed to be your well-earned rest after a lifetime of supporting yourself and your family — if you can get one, that is.

Look for ways to cut your spending so that you can turn that money right around and put it to work for you in retirement. Whether it’s making coffee and lunches at home to bring to work or switching nights out with friends at a restaurant to entertaining at home, find ways to sock more away for the future — your future — when you’ll be glad you did.

3. Learn to live on a budget

You may already be doing this, but if you’re not, it’s probably time to start. While you may be planning to work in retirement, the job market may have other ideas — and if you’re dependent on a combination of Social Security and 401(k) or IRA money, that will limit your options. For one thing, seniors have to deal with a job market that’s prejudiced against them — and that’s stacked against them in other ways, too.

Not only that, but depending on who wins the election, your Social Security benefit may not be as predictable as you’d counted on — and then there’s the question of cost-of-living increases. After no increase at all for 2016, seniors will see a paltry average increase of $3.92, according to CNN. That’s a skinny 0.3 percent increase — hardly enough to notice.

And considering how health care costs are rising, women in particular need to be wary of stepping outside of a budget’s constraints; a Nationwide Retirement Institute study found that women could end up spending 70 percent of their Social Security benefits just paying for health care. Considering that women not only overwhelmingly (80 percent!) claim Social Security benefits early, thus locking in a lower benefit rate for their lifetimes, they depend on it to pay for 56 percent of their expenses in retirement.

That said, get used to living on less — you’re going to be doing so for a long, long time.

2. Prepare your home for the long run

If you’re planning on staying put in the house you’re currently living in, make sure it’s prepared for potential changes in your health and/or mobility — particularly if you don’t have coverage for nursing home care. While many people believe that Medicare will pay for a nursing home, should they become disabled, that’s not the case unless their assets are pretty much exhausted. Of course, that won’t take long when paying for the cost of care at a nursing facility.

In addition to stairs, reachable cabinets and accessible bathrooms, there’s the question of how affordable your home is. Can you refinance your mortgage at a cheaper rate? Rent out a room? Pay the property taxes? Maybe you should consider downsizing to a more affordable house, perhaps in the same neighborhood, if your network of friends and family is local. That can save you not just on taxes, but on heating and cooling bills.

It may not be what you had in mind, so it’s smart to start setting realistic expectations of what your future retirement might look like.

1. Lower your expectations

Do you somehow expect that when you retire you’ll be traveling the world, dining at fine restaurants and going to the theater for every new production? Unless you have Warren Buffett’s budget, get real.

Most seniors have to cut back substantially when they leave the workforce. You will likely be no different. It’s easier to deal with that reality if you prepare for it mentally in advance, and realize that you’ll have to plan your excursions carefully and budget for them in advance.

The market was brutal to retirement plans during the Great Recession, and unless you were uncommonly fortunate, the money you saved for retirement throughout your career has not regained all lost ground. That said, depending on what you plan to do during your retirement years, you may still find it’s the most rewarding time of your life — particularly if those plans don’t depend on money.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Satter, M. Y. (2016 October 24). 5 ways to salvage retirement. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.benefitspro.com/2016/10/24/5-ways-to-salvage-retirement?kw=5+ways+to+salvage+retirement&et=editorial&bu=BenefitsPRO&cn=20161025&src=EMC-Email_editorial&pt=Daily&page_all=1