• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Cut back now to have a stress-free retirement

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You’ve heard the horror stories, and I bet you’ve even seen them for yourself. I’m talking about the grandparents and their friends who struggle with their bills and try to make ends meet during a time in their lives when they should be happy.

You think to yourself that it’s not the life you want to live. You want better. You want more. But that means putting away money now for retirement to make sure you have what you need for the basic necessities in life, for doctors’ visits, and even your travel plans.

The retirement years are called the “golden” years, but very little about them can be “golden” when it comes to money. Are you up for it? Here’s how to start:

Where can you cut back? 

Cutbacks can be made everywhere. Little tweaks in the things you do now can result in great savings that you can put away for later.

How much do you spend on food?

• Are you buying in high-end stores? Some of the bulk and off brand stores carry the same quality as the large chain stores.

• Are you buying brand names where they’re not necessary? (We all know not all cream cheeses are created equal, though.)

• Are you utilising coupons? Are you using everything you have in your pantry before buying more? Do you eat out often or in expensive restaurants?

Analyse your food budget to see where you are spending more than you need to. To realistically make this work, you don’t want to rid yourself of every luxury that you have now. You’ll only end up resenting taking this on. So, set yourself a realistic goals and follow through with them.

What about your home?

Is your home bigger than you really need? Does it require a lot of upkeep? Is it energy-efficient? 

When you get older, you’ll downsize in order to be able to maintain your home on your budget. If you do that now, you will take a man-size bite out of your home and home maintenance bills. Of course, this means to live with what you can live with. Not many families NEED a mansion. Consider a smaller house by trimming the extras and making do with only what you need.

Get rid of your debt now. 

Do everything to get your debts paid off as soon as possible. This will be the greatest asset that you create for yourself.

One of the best ways to pay off debt is by using the snow ball method. Here’s a brief explanation of how it would work with your credit cards:

• Decide to pay one card (either the high interest or the the lowest balance) off while making minimum payments on the others.

• When that card is paid off, add the payment you were making to it to the next card you want to pay off and continue to pay the minimum on the rest.

• Repeat until you have all you cards paid off.

The benefits package 

Benefits of living this lifestyle stretch far beyond the cushioning of your actual nest egg, as you will set a great example for your children too.

Your kids will learn: 

• To budget money better for their families later

• Self-control when it comes to purchases

• Not to live beyond their means, sparing them the stress of credit cards and being in debt later

The key to making this lifestyle work with children is your attitude. Present the way you live to them in positive light and don’t begrudge them when it counts. Your attitude towards them and the way you live can greatly impact their perception of these sacrifices and can really make a difference when it comes to money management for their families.

Imagine that you could actually teach them not to follow the crowd and enjoy living within their means. Just imagine.

Many people spend their golden years worrying about their money. Spare yourself that headache and live on less now. Use that extra money to actually make retirement your “golden” years.