Downsizing during retirement, for many of us, isn’t so much of option as a necessity. Reasons for downsizing are not always financial, either; mobility and convenience also factor into the decision. Living within your means doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, being frugal with your money, time and energy will enhance your life during retirement. By working smart, there are a lot of cross over benefits from downsizing, too, so it is important to consider how every decision impacts on the rest of your lifestyle.
Home and Community
The size of home you live in and where it is located can determine how well you are set up financially for your retirement. Retirees can save around 25% on their
mortgage with a smaller property in a more affordable area, and greatly reduce tax and insurance payments, too. A smaller property also means less upkeep; saving precious time and energy for doing the things that you actually enjoy.
Although most retirees opt to keep their car, at the very least, do consider downsizing to a more cost efficient model. An area with reliable public transport or convenient facilities within walking distance is another option to reduce travel costs, for retirees who do decide to get rid of their car altogether.
A garage or lawn sale will take care of a lot of unwanted possessions; including items such as paintings, small to medium furnishings and electronics. If you are selling a car, this is also a great way to draw attention from perspective buyers.
Donating to local charities or free recycling services is the quickest and most efficient way to de-clutter. Charities will take clothes, furniture and some electronics. A recycle service will take damaged furniture, clothes, electronics and other materials. Check with your local charities first, so that they can benefit from any items you can give them.
There is no hard and fast rule for when you can begin preparing for your retirement. However, it makes sense to start preparations sooner rather than later. Keep in mind that, on average, retirees spend the equivalent of 70 to 80 percent of their work-life salary per year; all of which is income that you must start generating before retirement.
Saving and investments are the two main ways to generate an income for retirement. You could work overtime or take a second job to earn the initial money you will need for investments. Or, when buying your home, consider it as an investment that you can use to fund your retirement in the future. Your investments in your formative years will pay off in the long run, too, so make sure that you keep that in mind with every major purchase.
The bottom line is, if you want to live the good life when you retire, you are going to have to make some smart investments. Of course, if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it. Before you start investing in every plan that promises to deliver huge pay-outs, speak to a professional advisor that you trust.
Invest in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) as early as possible. If you are going to invest in equity and stocks, do so earlier in life so that you can make your money and quit while you are ahead. Remember, this is about securing a comfortable future in your retirement years. While not the greatest investment option for a return, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), is a good place to keep money in between better investments.
Plan in such a way that when you get closer to reaching retirement, you are thinking about downsizing your home and car. Make sure that you are on track to clear all your credit cards and other outgoings, so that you have as much disposable income as possible. Take the time to think about the type of retirement you want; and decide which aspects of your life will help or hinder you in achieving that lifestyle.
There is nothing quite as appealing in life as the prospect of retiring early. However, it is not a decision that you should make on a whim. Remember, while you will gain additional years in retirement, you will lose the income you would have generated in those years, had you continued to work. This leaves you with two choices; living on a smaller budget and making sacrifices in your lifestyle, or, finding other ways of generating an income that will allow you to have a long and happy retirement.
First of all you need to determine how your current income stacks up against your chosen retirement age. The earlier you retire the less time you have to save. With improvements in lifestyles and healthcare you should anticipate living into your nineties, which means more retirement years, too. So begin by calculating how much assets you will have per year, based on your current income.
If you really want to enjoy your early retirement, make the sacrifices while you are young. Take a second job to offset the income you will lose in your retirement years. You should also consider easing into your early retirement, by continuing part time work to support yourself. Many retirees start their own small business, drawing from life skills to do something that they enjoy and earn an income as well. Start planning your second career or business now, so that you are well prepared for your retirement.
Higher growth investments are a good strategy for generating retirement income, provided that you start early. Taking risks with equities can pay huge dividends if you allow yourself the time to recover from dips in the market. Potentially, you could end up making up your shortfall without having to work a single day longer than you want to. When you get closer to your retirement age, you can then move to more secure investments. Don’t leave it too late to get in on investments that will work for you, organize your retirement portfolio today.