Retirement is a very expensive business. This is thanks to the fact that we are all living much longer and are all now accustomed to a higher standard of living.
A hundred years ago life expectancy for men was little over 50 years; few people made it to retirement and when they did, retirement involved helping to maintain a home as often children and grandchildren would still be living under the same roof.
Life expectancy is now approaching 80 years and this means that many people spending over 20 years in retirement, with a significant number of people living over 30 years in retirement. All these years in a care home can be very costly.
If you wish to be sure to retire comfortably you will need to save a considerable amount of money. This is becoming more difficult because people are generally getting on the housing ladder much later in life and still paying mortgages off during their final years at work. Also, more children are attending university and the overall cost of living has increased because we are all so reliant on our small luxuries.
With careful planning, however, it is still possible to save enough money for your retirement.
Money saving tips
The single most important money saving piece of advice that we can offer you is to budget for your retirement. If you do not know how much money you have, how much your savings are expected to grow and how much money you are spending, you will never be able to plan for your retirement.
Start by logging all of your expenses and keep a log for several months. You need to consider annual expenses too, such as running a car, the extra costs of birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, healthcare and home insurance.
Once you have kept a thorough log of expenses it is possible to start looking at ways to save money. This will invariably mean making a few sacrifices, such as eating out less, buying cheaper brands, reducing the thermostat and travelling less.
Choosing the right senior community
Deciding to live in a senior community is a huge step for many people. It is usually the correct decision to make, but it does take some people longer to become accustomed to the idea. Not all senior living communities are the same, so it is important to do some thorough research first.
Do not just go with your closest home as this may not provide you with all the facilities and care that you need. Ideally you want to choose a prestigious senior community that you will be happy to stay in for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, every year many people make the wrong decision and have to seek alternative accommodation, and this can cause a lot of upheaval and stress. Worse still, changing retirement home can be a costly affair.
The quality of health care can vary greatly between senior communities and in some you can receive great health care benefits that save a huge amount on health care costs. Many communities, however, raise their fees for new residents who have a chronic health condition.
This is why it is often advisable to apply early for a senior living community. If you apply when in good health your fees will be considerably lower. It is likely that most people will develop a chronic health condition at some point during their lives so applying early to a home with great health care can be considered a form of insurance.
One of the biggest problems facing the aging population is loneliness. Our population may be aging as advancements in healthcare advance, but at the same time families are becoming more fragmented.
Almost every widow and widower will find themselves living alone and, as we grow older and mobility reduces, it can become very difficult to get out and meet people.
Studies by age charities have revealed that millions of elderly people often go a whole month without speaking to anybody. Society is forgetting its elderly population. When children move away they often remember their parent’s busy social lives and assume that they are always meeting up with friends, but the sad reality is that most lose contact with friends, who like them, become less mobile with age, find it hard to find the funds or the energy to travel far, and fall into a state of quiet depression.
The best senior living communities take the social side very seriously. Many will organize daily social activities that are designed to appeal to different people, such as games clubs, singing, arts and crafts, and sports (such as bowls and golf).
With good planning, sensible saving and researching the options thoroughly, you should be able to settle in a good community with a great social life, many activities and excellent health care.