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Mary Ann
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Adapting to Your Retirement Budget

Financial advisors talk about wants vs. needs and we say, ya, ya, ya…….while we’re still earning a regular income.  Though the budget may be tight, we can make adjustments when that next paycheck is in the bank.  Early in retirement, we often adopt the same attitude; just substituting our savings for that paycheck.  About 3 – 6 months into retirement you realize this isn’t a realistic way to live and your savings may be in jeopardy.

So, you face budget reality and realize you’ll need to cut your expenses or find a job.  Before you dust off that resume, let’s talk about those wants and needs.  We’re likely on the same page with needs such as mortgage/rent, utilities, taxes, medical insurance, transportation and food.  Our list becomes subjective when we move to gym membership, golf, salon & spa services, gifts for grandchildren, lunch with friends, travel, etc.

 I wrestled with hair and nail salon expenses……..

and opted to drop my monthly nail appointment; not the periodic pedicure (easily justified as a Senior with difficulty reaching my toes).  That alone saved me enough to cover the dog groomer; and I was proud of my frugal decision.

Let me share a warning about those Acrylic nails, which always look so nice.  They require an hour each month in the salon and usually no maintenance between appointments.  What I didn’t know is how painful they are to remove.  After soaking your fingers in a special solution, a professional can lift and remove the acrylic from the nail bed.  They usually leave a bit on the tips which will diminish as the nails grow and are filed. That’s how mine were removed with minimal discomfort.   As the day wore on, I noticed increased sensitivity in all the nail bed areas.  When I applied the clear, and very expensive, nail strengthener purchased from the salon, I almost fainted from the pain.  That first week I couldn’t sleep without pain medication. This gradually disappeared as the new nail beds thickened, about three months later.   After that agonizing frugal move, I made the decision to retain my hair salon appointments!

Sports activities can vary in cost……..

from free walking/hiking to other options such as golf.  Many golfers find a part-time job at their favorite course and receive free golf in exchange.  Others may want to beat the summer heat by just practicing at the driving range in the evening.  It’s less expensive, cooler and can eliminate some of the regulation golf course frustration.  You still wear your golf clothes and shoes, use all your clubs, and there’s usually a practice putting green included.  New golf centers, totally devoted to practice, often include small courses for your short game and seem to be the sport’s latest attraction.

My friend, Linda, found a way to travel and get paid at the same time………

She began as a part-time guide for a bus tour company specializing in school trips to Washington and Williamsburg.  Her schedule was flexible, there were parents along who were responsible for the kids safety; she absolutely loved the trips.  Later, she became a tour director on one of those glass top trains in Alaska.  It was only a 3 month commitment and the company provided her with a salary and housing. She also mentioned the tips she received from the travelers were very generous.  Linda is a widowed retired teacher and she found both opportunities online; they were part of a Cruise program.

As you talk with other Seniors, they will often share their bargain finds and budget tips.  I always say I spent the first 50 years of my life acquiring “things” and now I’m trying to downsize and simplify my lifestyle.  We really don’t need as much when we retire, especially when we focus on using what we already have.

Stop by next Friday for my blog on Memory Lane or Why did I come to the basement?

……….Mary Ann