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Unexpected Retirement Expenses

Many retirement expenses are straightforward, especially when you work with an advisor who helps guide you, or if you make it your business or hobby to study finances and retirement.

One example of straightforward retirement expenses: On average, retirees can expect housing to represent about one-third of retirement expenses; health care, 10 to 15 percent; transportation, 15 percent; food, 12 percent; and clothing, insurance, and discretionary expenses create the remainder.

When you begin to develop a retirement spending plan, what are the chances you include line items for an adult child who lost a job and needs cash or a $10,000 major dental work bill? Not very likely.

Therefore, the following list of potential, but rarely listed-on-a-spreadsheet retirement expenses may help buffer your spending plan.

NINE RETIREMENT EXPENSES YOU NEVER SAW COMING

TRAVEL

Many retirees say travel is a top priority. During years of work, your ability to travel was limited to vacation time. Now, you have freedom to simply take off and go to your wish list destinations.

You also have time visit family and friends. This means you may be on the road frequently. Travel costs add up quickly consuming a larger part of your budget than you may have anticipated.

MEDICAL EXPENSES

Most people factor in Medicare coverage when planning for retirement. But what about the expenses Medicare doesn’t cover—dental, vision, hearing, prescription drugs, and most long-term care costs?

Even with supplemental insurance, out-of-pocket beyond insurance premiums and co-pays are expensive.

MAJOR HOME REPAIRS AND IMPROVEMENT 

A roof, heating or cooling systems, and appliances could fail at any time. You may also find you will have to hire handymen for home maintenance chores you used to tackle. And don’t forget the possibility you may need to add improvements to keep your house updated for future sale.

ASSISTANCE FOR ELDERLY PARENTS

Everyone is living longer, and you may have elderly parents who need both physical and financial assistance. Some of these expenses include medication, medical supplies, and in-home care. If your parents move in with you, you may have renovation costs such as installing ramps, railings, and lifts.

ADULT CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN MAY NEED HELP

When planning for retirement, you may not think to make allowances for your adult children. Yet happy events such as weddings, new homes, and grandchildren will require cash.

Also, it’s not uncommon for an adult child to face a life crisis likeloss of a job, divorce or a health issue. You may need (or simply want) to help out your children financially.

YOUR SPOUSE BECOMES ILL OR DIES 

When many couples budget for retirement, they assume they will both be living in the same place. But what happens if one requires medical care in an assisted care or nursing home facility? Suddenly, you may find yourself paying for all or part of that care and a host of related expenses.

If a spouse passes away, household expenses may remain the same, but family income may not. For one, you lose the deceased spouse’s Social Security. And if the deceased spouse had a pension or annuity, you may also see all or a portion of that cease.

INFLATION

Inflation decreases purchasing power for decades after retirement. The effects of inflation are felt long before you quit your day job. And it doesn’t stop during retirement. In fact, accounting for inflation is even more important for retirees because of the lack of salary increases working people often get.

Make sure you account for inflation in your retirement budget.

EXPECT CHANGES IN THE TAX CODE AND ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS

Remember that nothing is certain, so diversify among pre-tax and post-tax retirement accounts. You just never know.

Retirement can be a rather long stage in someone’s life. Therefore, it is best to account for some of the expenses which may not be apparent at first. There are plenty of tools and calculators out there when you start to plan. And there are always financial advisors who specialize in retirement. Whichever method you use, ensure your retirement years are truly golden.

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