3 Things Boomers Should Consider Buying in Retirement

senior man using a calculator while reviewing his budget
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There are countless financial news stories and articles about how much baby boomers should save for retirement, but not as much attention is paid to things that they should actually buy. While unrestrained spending is certainly a no-no in retirement, there are purchases that can increase your income stream, make your life easier or even allow you to save money going forward. These are the types of buys that boomers should consider. 


Many boomers are aware that they should hold a portfolio of investments when they retire, but not all are. In fact, some financial experts may be inadvertently supporting the notion that you don’t need investments in retirement by the way they present their calculations.

For example, you’ll commonly see or hear that you should calculate the amount you need in retirement by multiplying your annual expenditures by the number of years you expect to live in retirement. So, if you plan to live on $50,000 per year and anticipate being retired for 30 years, you’ll need $1.5 million. But that’s only true if you don’t invest your nest egg — even in a savings account — and simply whittle down your balance every year. But if you instead invest that money and achieve a relatively modest 5% annual return, you won’t need $1.5 million to last your 30 years, you’ll only need about $775,000, or roughly half that amount. 

Are You Retirement Ready?

While building a nest egg to twice the level that you really need is a good position to be in, it’s much better to make your money work for you than to simply let it sit there. Under the above scenario, if you invested $775,000 of your $1.5 million, you could fund your entire retirement for 30 years and still have approximately $725,000 to spend as you choose. That could transform a satisfying retirement into a spectacular one.

Conveniences That Make Your Life Better

There’s no point in pinching every penny in retirement if it makes your life miserable. While you shouldn’t simply blow all your money on random discretionary purchases, owning a few key items can greatly improve your quality of life without breaking the bank.

For example, if you have trouble with mobility, there are certain things you can buy to make your life easier. A door handle can make getting into and out of a car less difficult, while the same can be said for shower bars and other accessories that lessen the risk of slipping and falling. If you’re still active, knee braces, gel soles and other low-cost accessories can help protect against injury and make your time outdoors more enjoyable. Comfortable bedding can help ensure a good night’s sleep. 

Are You Retirement Ready?

Things That Will Save You Money

As counterintuitive as it may sound, sometimes you need to spend a little money to save even more. Insurance is a great example of this, particularly as you get older. For most boomers, the reality is that they’ll need prescriptions, medical attention or even long-term care as they age. Paying for these items out of pocket can rapidly drain even the largest nest egg, so having insurance that covers these things is essential.

Reliable transportation is another worthwhile investment for boomers. Not only is it hard to deal with car maintenance expenses after you retire, it can be hard to actually pay for them if you’re on a fixed budget. Buying a reliable vehicle is a good way to protect against these costs. If you prefer using public transportation, investing in a bus, metro or rail pass is a great way to save money instead of paying for each single trip as you go.

Are You Retirement Ready?

On the home front, buying energy-efficient appliances and windows can make a big difference over the long run in terms of saving money on your utility bill. If you have the space, investing in a garden is another great idea. Not only will you save on fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, but your produce will be fresher and healthier. Gardening can also be a great way to fill your time with a hobby you enjoy, paying dividends in health and happiness.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of the type of lifestyle you lead, there are likely to be accessories you can purchase that will far outweigh their initial cost in terms of improving your quality of life. Similarly, there are things you can buy that will end up saving you much more money over the long run than your initial outlay. When slashing expenses out of your retirement budget — which is an admirable exercise – keep in mind that some of those costs will likely pay greater dividends over time.

Are You Retirement Ready?

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