Some Ways to “Tighten the Belt”

If you had to cut back your spending, where would you do it? This question has a way of reflecting our values as much as it does our practicality.

One recent study found that when workers started feeling even a little unsure about their job security, they began to cut back spending as a coping mechanism. So where did many of these cuts take place? The most popular reductions were eating and drinking at cafes, bars and restaurants, clothing and accessories, entertainment such as movies, sporting events and concerts, and even personal grooming – like visiting the hair salon or purchasing expensive moisturizer.*

Not surprisingly, these expenses fall under our budgets as discretionary items. It’s within our discretion whether to eat out or cook at home and how often. It’s also within our discretion to decide whether to buy an expensive lotion or a cheaper brand. When it comes to living within a retirement budget, some people may feel that they need to cut back, while some people don’t necessarily need to, but may become more conservative as a matter of course. And still other’s may choose to upgrade – having scrimped for so long while they were younger, that they want to “live it up” during their golden years.

If you are still in the pre-retirement stage – or have children who are – it may be worthwhile to look beyond your discretionary budget to see if you can reduce larger ticket expenses once you retire. For example, perhaps you’re still living in a large family home even though most – if not all – of your children have moved out. While you may think you’ll always live there, it could be worth going through the exercise of calculating just how much of your regular spending you would save by downsizing to a smaller and more maintenance free home. Once you get that number, consider what other ways you might deploy that money. And consider what you might rather do with your time if you spent less of it cleaning and maintaining a large household and yard.

If you’re not interested in downsizing at this point in your life, it may be worth passing on things you’ve learned to your adult children in their 40s and 50s. Knowing what you know now, if you had the opportunity to cut expenses to help pay for your kids’ college at that age, would you do it? Would you seek out an alternate lifestyle that was more cost efficient and low maintenance in order to spend more time with family? If so, consider sharing these thoughts with pre-retirees you know who may harbor fears of coming up short in retirement.

Remember: The better a person can plan for retirement at a younger age, the easier it may be to adapt to a different lifestyle.

If you have any questions or concerns please give us a call at 801-990-5055 .

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies that include the use of insurance products.

*Squared Away Blog, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, “Spending Out When Job Threats Rise,” May 12, 2014