Although retirement can mean the cessation of some forms of income such as earned compensation, it can also mean the elimination of certain types of expenses. Although some studies have indicated that the cost of living for retirees is just as high as it is for younger taxpayers, there are still many everyday expenditures that may disappear at some point. Here are the expenses you might be saving once you hit your golden years.
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The best thing about any mortgage is that, at some point, it eventually gets paid off. The removal of this expense is huge burden off the back of any homeowner, and can mean the difference between positive and negative cash flow for many retirees.
By the time most parents are ready to retire, their children are grown and gone, and do not require sitters or daycare, which can cost thousands of dollars each year. (With many people ill prepared for retirement, seniors are moving in with their kids. Learn more in Retirement Trends: Boomerang Parents.)
Houses aren't the only things that are eventually paid off. Although some owners choose to trade in for a new car every few years, others keep their cars in good condition until they are paid for, which not only results in the elimination of the car payment, but can also allow the owner to opt for cheaper liability insurance coverage.
Many workers automatically opt to put 15% of their earnings away in some sort of employee-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan. Others allocate money each month into a traditional or Roth IRA. But all qualified plan contributions will cease upon retirement (although IRA contributions can continue until age 70.5 or beyond). For someone who earned $70,000 and contributed the maximum amount into their plan, this equals $11,500 per year of contributions that are no longer made. (IRA designed to help Americans without access to a company retirement plan invest easier. What makes this new idea so different, and how does it work? Find out in What's The Deal With An Opt-Out IRA?)
For those who still have a mortgage, this can mean a lower payment every month. Those who have paid off their homes will realize a windfall that they can either use to bolster their retirement savings or pay off other bills, such as cars or medical expenses. In most cases this can also mean lower property taxes and utility bills.
Those who have cash value policies may get them paid off by the time they retire, and those with term policies may no longer need them, or may not be able to afford to continue the coverage. In any of these cases, it spells the end of monthly or annual premium payments for the policy. This can free up thousands of dollars in some instances, depending upon the amount of coverage involved.
Miscellaneous Debt Payments
Student loans, credit cards and other consumer debt can constitute a large portion of many budgets. But older consumers often get these debts paid down in later years, and their elimination can substantially ease even the tightest budgets. The removal of credit card debt in particular allows retirees to get out from under usurious interest rates and direct their monthly payments toward other obligations.
The Bottom Line
For many retirees, the elimination of some or all of the debts listed above can make a huge difference in the amount of income that is required to make ends meet. Many retirees are able to live on Social Security plus their retirement savings with relative ease if the major debts that they incurred earlier in their lives are finally paid off.
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