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7 Practical Ways to Avoid Running Out of Money in Retirement

7 Practical Ways to Avoid Running Out of Money in Retirement

Retirement: it’s a goal we all have and spend most of our working lives saving for. But many people worry about running out of money during their retirement—and with people living longer than ever before, it’s a relevant concern. But there are several steps you can take to make sure you can enjoy retirement.

Here are seven practical ways to avoid running out of money in retirement.

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1. Keep earning money.

You may have stepped away from the full-time career you’ve had for the past 40-plus years, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely leave the working world. Seriously consider finding a stress-free part-time job that still allows you to enjoy your hobbies, friends and families. Besides earning a little money, the job will also keep your brain sharp. Another way to earn money in retirement is to sell things you no longer need, such as a second (or third) car or other things around the house that you haven’t used in years.

2. Monitor your assets.

Keep a close eye on your investment portfolio and how it fares in the market. This isn’t something you need to do every day or even weekly, but at least once a month find out how much your assets are worth. If you notice a negative trend, you’ll be able to take action more quickly and avoid any unpleasant surprises. Another asset value to monitor is your home. Make sure to keep up on maintenance so its value stays with the current market. For most people, their home is their biggest asset.

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3. Invest for income.

Financial advisers usually tell people to become more conservative in their investments as they get older. While that’s good advice most of the time, it’s also important to invest for income—find a product that will not only deliver back on its investment, but will also earn you a little extra.

4. Spend less money.

Okay, that’s a no-brainer, right? But it’s something you need to be conscious of. If you followed a budget before you retired, do the same now. You’ll need to adjust it to note the changes in income and expenses (hopefully you’ll be spending less on clothing, gas and other areas related to working). If you’ve never had a budget, it’s not too late to draft one. Think about how much money you have coming in each month and determine how you’re going to spend it, and how much you may need to dip into savings.

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5. Save more.

Another no-brainer, but it’s true: if you save more money before you retire, it’s less likely you’ll run out of it once you stop taking home a regular paycheck. Look for ways to stash more cash in your retirement savings accounts, whether it’s a 401(k) through work or an IRA. Putting away a few extra dollars every pay period can add up.

6. Buy long-term care insurance.

Nursing home costs wipe out many people’s life savings. One way to avoid this is to plan ahead and purchase long-term care insurance, which covers costs not paid for by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, when you’re in your 40s or 50s when the premiums will be cheaper. This insurance will help protect your assets if you wind up in a nursing home and with 60 percent of people over age 65 requiring some type of long-term care services during their lifetime, it’s not a bad investment.

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7. Delay collecting your Social Security.

If you can, wait until 70 to collect Social Security. If you can, delay accepting your monthly Social Security payments until you reach age 70. By doing this, you’ll receive a higher amount each month.

By taking these simple steps, you’ll be less likely to outlive your savings.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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