Retirement should be a relaxing phase of your life, but the budgeting that comes along with it may add a little stress. That's especially true as the coronavirus crisis unfolds, impacting everything from the health system to the financial markets and daily life.
It's still important to set retirement budget goals and account for your normal expenses. Some of these fall under the radar during the initial budget planning. Make sure you address these four expenses when setting up your retirement budget.
1] Inflation Reduces Your Buying Power
Regardless of your age, you likely remember a time when things cost much less. The days of buying candy and gum for 10 cents are long behind us, thanks to inflation.
Once you hit retirement and set up a fixed income, inflation will likely start impacting your budget. With your money moved out of investment accounts and no cost-of-living increases, your dollars eventually have less buying power.
Because inflation erodes purchasing power over time, it's important to budget for the fact that your money won't go as far the longer you live. Unless you're planning to replenish your cash reserves by working part-time during retirement, you may need to reduce the amount spent on luxury and nonessential items to ensure you have a workable retirement income for the long term.
2] Your Insurance Rates Rise After Retirement
Many car insurance companies responded to widespread stay-at-home orders by lowering rates and offering rebates on car insurance premiums. However, those rates won't stay low forever. Social-distancing practices will eventually end, and people will get back to driving. At that point, insurance rates will likely return to normal.
The coronavirus shutdown was a unique event that caused rates to drop, but age-related rate changes have been a common industry practice for decades. Car insurers assess the average number of accidents by age, which impacts car insurance rates. This is why the average annual car insurance rate for teens is more than $7,100.
Car insurance rates are typically lowest when drivers are 50 to 65 years old. After that, rates start to rise as insurance companies see drivers as a higher risk. You should account for higher car insurance rates as you get older in retirement. Your rates may increase by $1,000 per year compared to before retirement.
3] Technology Is a Necessity and Needs Replacing Eventually
There was a time when the internet wasn't an essential part of life. Now, it's more like a utility than an optional expense. Fast forward to the 2020s. Smartphones, once a novelty, are now ubiquitous and something you may need.
Both internet technology and smartphones can be expensive. A home internet connection can cost around $50 per month, on average, while a new smartphone can cost several hundred dollars. Even a low-cost mobile operator could charge $40–$60 per line.
A poll found consumers spend around $166 per month on technology. That may increase in the coming decades, as new technology surfaces.
Consider your technology spending and ensure you have accounted for it in your retirement budget.
4] You May Be Required to Pay State and Federal Income Taxes
Here's the good news: Depending on the source of retirement income, you may not have to pay income taxes. For example, Social Security payments aren't taxed unless you have other substantial income.
Other forms of retirement income may be taxed. Some pensions are considered taxable income, while others (such as federal government pensions) are not. And 403(b) retirement contributions do not get taxed until you start withdrawing the money from your account after you retire.
Some of the most common tax-deferred retirement accounts include:
- Traditional 401(k)
- Tax-deferred annuity
- Health savings accounts (HSA)
- Whole life insurance policy
Assess the retirement accounts you have in place, and speak with your retirement planner. Make sure you understand what will be taxed, and plan your budget around your post-tax income. You'll likely be in a lower tax bracket when you start drawing retirement income, which could benefit you.
Retirement is an important time, but many Americans will retire with limited savings. Planning for all of the costs of living you'll incur will help prevent unexpected and stressful expenses.
Maxime Rieman is Product Manager at ValuePenguin. Educating and assisting shoppers about financial products has been Rieman's focus, which led her to joining ValuePenguin, a consumer research and advice company based in New York. Previously, she was product marketing director at CoverWallet and launched the personal insurance team at NerdWallet.
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