You spent decades working hard for your money, so you want to make it last. Now that you’re retired, you’re laser-focused on protecting your finances, so you can enjoy the relaxing lifestyle you’ve earned.
Approximately six in 10 Americans — 59% — believe they can afford a comfortable and secure retirement lasting more than 10 years, according to an Edward Jones survey. However, only 30% say they can afford a retirement lasting more than 20 years.
The money moves you make today will affect your retirement tomorrow. Use these 12 tips from financial professionals to ensure you’re doing everything you can to safeguard your nest egg.
Stay Invested in the Market
For funds that aren’t needed for short-term liquidity, Karen Ogden, CFP, partner at Envest Asset Management, LLC, said it’s best not to look at your portfolio all the time. “Not looking at your investments all the time makes it easier to ride the wave of the ups and downs,” she said.
Additionally, she said it’s important to pay attention to the cost of your investments. “A lot of people aren’t aware of the fees charged by funds they are invested in,” she said.
Pay Off Your Mortgage
“While it is true that a lot of people who have owned their homes for a long time have a low interest rate, owning your home outright is never a bad option,” Ogden said. “By paying it off and reducing your expenses in retirement — or ideally before — you can increase other savings.”
She said a sound retirement comes with strong savings, noting that it’s hard to over save.
“If you choose not to pay off early because of the low rate and instead believe you can do better in the market, make sure that extra money makes it into the market monthly to be invested,” she said. “If you aren’t disciplined about putting what could be an extra payment into an investing vehicle, it’s easy to fool yourself about making the better choice.”
Pay Off High-Interest Debt
If you’re saddled with high-interest debt, Mark Reimet, certified financial planner at Ocean City Financial Group, recommended doubling down to get rid of it.
“Retirees should prioritize paying off any high-interest debt, such as credit cards or personal loans,” he said. “Eliminating debt reduces financial stress and frees up more money for other retirement goals.”
There’s a good chance you’re still living in the home you raised your family in, despite it now being too large for your needs.
“Downsizing to a smaller home can help retirees reduce housing costs, including mortgage payments, property taxes and maintenance expenses,” Reimet said. “It can also unlock home equity that can be used for other purposes, such as investments or travel.”
Plan for Healthcare Expenses
Unplanned healthcare expenses can easily derail your retirement budget, so Reimet said it’s important to be prepared.
“Retirees should carefully plan for healthcare costs, including insurance premiums, deductibles and potential long-term care needs,” he said. “Exploring options like Medicare, supplemental insurance and health savings accounts — HSAs — can help manage these expenses effectively.”
Stay Informed About Tax Strategies
Being in the know on retirement tax laws and strategies can help optimize your income, so being well-versed on this subject is important, Reimet said.
“This includes understanding tax-efficient withdrawal strategies from different accounts and taking advantage of deductions and credits available to them,” he said.
Review Insurance Coverage
If you’re not sure what your insurance policies actually cover, it’s time to get informed.
“Regularly reviewing insurance policies, such as life insurance, health insurance and homeowner’s insurance, is essential for retirees,” Reimet said. “Ensuring adequate coverage and evaluating cost-saving opportunities can provide financial security and peace of mind.”
Seek Professional Financial Advice
If you’re not currently working with a financial planner, meeting with one might be a good idea.
“Consulting a trusted financial advisor who specializes in retirement planning can provide personalized guidance based on individual circumstances,” Reimet said. “A financial professional can help retirees navigate complex financial decisions and optimize their retirement savings and investments.”
Implement an Income-Oriented Investment Strategy
The last thing you want is to run out of cash in retirement, so it’s important to make sure your investment portfolio is properly allocated.
“If you’re regularly taking income to cover living costs, you’ll want to be sure that your portfolio is producing a sustainable amount of income so you don’t have to sell investments in a down market to produce cash,” said Jeremy Bohne, founder at Paceline Wealth Management, LLC.
Set Up a Monthly Recurring Income Payment
To alleviate any budgeting issues, Bohne said setting up a recurring monthly payment in the same amount, on the same day is crucial.
“Many people make the mistake of receiving income as it arrives in their portfolio, but many funds and bonds pay income only quarterly or semi-annually, leading to huge monthly swings in their income,” he said. “Setting up a recurring monthly payment and implementing an investment strategy that can reliably produce the cash you need makes life a lot easier for retirees.”
Get a Part-Time Job
You retired from your full-time job, but that doesn’t mean your stint in the workforce has to be completely over. Kendall Meade, a financial planner at SoFi, said she sees many retirees go back to work in some capacity.
“Most take on a lower stress job that they simply enjoy or transition to working just a couple of days per week in a part-time or contractor position with their original job,” she said. “This can allow many retirees to supplement their retirement income, while still having more time to enjoy traveling or new hobbies.”
Take Advantage of Senior Discounts
“Always check to see if there are senior discounts offered,” Meade said. She said many restaurants and even some clothing stores offer senior discounts. She said some stores offer savings on specific days and others simply require you to ask for the discount.
“My local grocery store offers 5% off for seniors with their loyalty card,” she said. “This may not sound like a lot, but for a family spending $100 a week on groceries, that can amount to $300 in savings per year just on groceries.”
Therefore, it’s always worth asking if a store has a senior discount, because the savings can clearly add up fast.
More From GOBankingRates