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6 Ways to Retire Frugally…Live Fantastically!


Retire Frugally

If living well is the best revenge, then retiring well on a modest income is even better!

This article is not about investment strategies, 401 contributions, or debt-downsizing tactics. (While doing the math IS critical to preparing for the future, I leave that to the experts.) Rather, this article will zero in on how to make your retirement money go a longer way. And it will focus on what a lot of money makeover gurus recommend: To have everything you want, try wanting less. So, Baby Boomers (the 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964) and all those who want to retire early and smartly, this is for you:

Live small.

Yes, you can do without – without depriving yourself. Retirement – and the smaller income that goes with it – gives you time to reflect on what’s really important to you. And what is just …stuff. Who needs a huge house, two cars, expensive cable and gym memberships, constant eating out, yearly vacations to Europe, or the latest hi-tech toys? Now that you have more time, discover the joys of walking and cooking your own meals. Living in the city? Go carless – and get rid of gas, insurance, and maintenance expenses.  Trade your heavily mortgaged home for low-maintenance condo living. Download movies instead of going to the theater. Vacation at nearby beach or mountain resorts. Enjoy night outs at your patio (with great wine, grilled salmon, and your dearest friends).

Never pay full price.

Discover the discount coupon lifestyle! Watch out for 2-for-1 offers, travel deals, restaurant coupons, and supermarket rebates. Make use of Internet coupon codes and discount vouchers. Keep an eye out for store promotions and free shipping/delivery offers. Whenever possible, stock up by shopping at members-only warehouse clubs. Going on vacation? There are lots of good yet cheap hostels all over the world. Do yourself a favor and do your research. And needless to say, if you’re a senior, take advantage of senior discounts in theaters, transportation, airfare, restaurants, hotels, car rentals, cruises and tours. No, you’re not being stingy, you’re being smart!

Cut a little, save a bundle.

Cut on your clothing expenses – avoid window shopping! Or if you can sew, recycle last season’s buys to fit this season’s styles. Cut your cell phone bills by going prepaid or shopping around for the best deal. Cut back on gas and electric bills by using a programmable thermostat and putting your ACs, water heater, and other appliances on a timer. Consider installing a woodstove. Think of investing in a really good coffee-maker and really good coffee beans to cut back on those fancy and expensive branded coffees. Go to dollar stores for simple basic purchases, and second-hand stores for books and magazines.

Work part-time.

It’s a great option if you end up with a nest egg smaller than you had hoped! It also keeps your mind and body active, while not having to go to work every single day, and serves as a bridge between full-time employment and full retirement. A line-up of part-time jobs – those that perk your interests and suit your “semi-retirement” schedule – provides a modest income, so you don’t have to tap your social security benefits or start using all of your retirement savings until later.

Look for more affordable housing.

Do you want to retire frugally with a modest nest egg? Interested in getting by on your social security and some savings? Wish to retire younger and maintain a comfortable lifestyle? Yes, you can – by moving to a place with a low cost of living. Recent research by US News & World Report identified US cities in which housing required less than a third of retiree income and had senior amenities, medical services, and recreation opportunities. Such housing can be found in Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa, South Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, and even New York. Live well for under $75-a-day or under $40,000-a-year income.

Live abroad.

Willing to be unconventional? Want to combine adventure with the ability to maximize your nest egg? Overseas retirement and relocation is attracting more and more Americans. And while it may seem a tad too radical for most people, retirement experts say those who opt to move abroad do so for the dramatic reduction in cost of living (how does $1000 a month sound to you?)… lower-cost medical care and health insurance… luxuries (e.g., household help) that are otherwise unaffordable back home… and a great climate.

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