Every day, about 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old and reach the age of retirement. Many of them may live for 30 to 40 more years. One of the problems facing most retirees is a massive retirement income shortfall. Retirement can mean fixed income, and one should go green to save money.
In his book, "Retirement Game-Changers", Steve Vernon shares 10 tips for saving money during your retirement years that will also help to leave a better planet for our grandchildren. Vernon offers green strategies on saving, because retirement income must be adequately planned in the absence of an active paycheck. His advice goes to more than 80 million Baby Boomers who will eventually leave active employment.
Green strategies are beneficial today, and they will also help future generations enjoy the efforts made to preserve the environment. In addition, many green strategies can save you money. Here are eight green strategies to incorporate in retirement planning:
1. Audit Energy Usage
Most people don’t know the details of their power use for their homes and businesses. To do this, hire a technician or professional to do an energy audit on your premises. The audit will reveal power consumption, and the technician will suggest power-saving changes that can be done in terms of installation and by using energy-efficient bulbs or systems.
Reading about new power-saving tips online is also useful. These energy-saving tips include unplugging electronic appliances when not in use, drawing curtains to light rooms, installing blinds and films on windows, using ceiling fans, and switching off lights when you leave a room, among others. These green energy methods will reduce power bills significantly and stretch income in retirement a bit further. (For more, see: 10 Ways to Save Energy and Money.)
2. Drive Eco-Friendly Vehicles
The atmosphere is degraded daily by massive carbon emissions from fossil-fueled automobiles. Today, many companies across the world are producing green cars, like electric and hybrid vehicles. These cars are eco-friendly and contribute to reducing carbon emissions. Electric or hybrid vehicles cost more than gasoline-powered vehicles, but the costs of maintaining them are less, and they have zero emissions.
Retirees can sell their current fossil-fuel car and use the profit to purchase an electric or hybrid vehicle. The low cost of operating a green car can help save retirees money. (See also: How Long Until Your Hybrid Pays Off?)
3. Carpool and Share Parking Spaces
Today, you can list your parking space on green mobile apps such as Haystack. This app has helped reduce the number of cars and cabs circling cities in search of a parking space. Haystack connects people who rent out parking spaces with those who need them. The idea will help you earn money while reducing carbon emissions from drivers looking for parking spaces.
Available parking spaces enable people to get off the road faster and reduce congestion. Modern cities and towns are congested with vehicles because many families have more than one vehicle. These vehicles lack sufficient parking spaces, but this problem can be alleviated when people share the spaces.
Carpooling is another brilliant solution for de-congesting cities. People going to the same place can opt to use the same vehicle. Carpooling helps control carbon emissions by reducing the number of vehicles on the road. Carpooling also encourages fun, sharing, and bonding with others, as well as reducing expenses. (Read also: LyftLine/UberPool vs. Owning Your Own Car.)
4. Utilize a Green Investment Portfolio
Even in retirement, you can embrace a green investment portfolio. Green investing considers direct initiatives that help in conserving the environment. Investments do not always have to be about financial returns, but also taking care of the natural environment.
Retirees can embrace companies using the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing model. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, approximately $22 trillion of assets were being managed under responsible investment strategies in 2016. This represented 25% growth from 2014, and the trend is on a trajectory for more people and organizations to embrace the model.
The ESG model is good for retirees because it is motivated by values, impacts, and strategies that work toward creating a sustainable planet. Retirees can invest their retirement income in industries and organizations that have an ESG strategy in their investment portfolio. These ESG strategies include critical issues such as data security and privacy, climate change, and gender diversity. These ESG strategies work toward making the planet green, inclusive, and better for future generations.
5. Use Solar Panels
Income in retirement can be saved by investing in solar systems for homes and small businesses and climate change can be mitigated by using solar power. The prices of solar installation have dropped and their return on investment is high. Innovative financing options are available for installing solar systems, which reduces the initial costs.
Solar has a high value proposition because it is clean and enables you to save your income in retirement. You may even not have any electricity bill at all during the spring and summer seasons. Investing wisely on Tesla solar panels and solar cells ensures that your home will have conventionally priced electricity for about 30 years.
Retirees can also invest their income in retirement in solar farms and stocks and enable the world to go green.
6. Pack Lunch at Home
When participating for outdoor activities such as picnics, prepare your own snacks at home instead of buying them. Food or snacks from home are prepared under high standards of hygiene, and you have a range of options. Preparing packed lunches in the morning may seem time-consuming, but it's an excellent way of saving money. You only need to wake up a few minutes earlier and prepare something light for lunch. A packed lunch is healthy and will save your income in retirement, instead of buying unhealthy fast foods in restaurants. (See also: 22 Ways to Fight Rising Food Prices.)
7. Reduce Housing Costs
Living in executive and luxurious apartments may be an exciting experience, but the case may be different during retirement. Emily Brandon suggests reducing your housing costs by living in a smaller house, which will lower maintenance costs.
Instead of living in a large home, you can rent an apartment, or you can pay off your mortgage to eliminate the large monthly housing payment. You can also relocate to a cheaper city or town or rent your home. The money earned can be used for shopping and entertainment.
8. Conserve Water and Save Money
Conserving water is one of the most important activities for achieving a green planet. Habits such as fixing water leakages, taking shorter showers, and closing the tap tightly to avoid dripping water slashes the water bill and saves extra money during retirement.
Retirees can also purchase innovations that help recycle water. You can use organic mulch in your garden to conserve water. Rinsing vegetables and fruits in the sink also helps to conserve water. Defrost food in the refrigerator instead of the microwave. You can avoid planting grass on steep areas, because these places do not hold water. You can install ultra-flushing toilets that use little water.
The more water you conserve, the less money you'll spend on your water bill. (See: Cheap Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.)
Preserve Wealth by Preserving the Environment
These eight green strategies can help you save money during retirement as well as conserve the planet’s resources. Investing in a green portfolio may not yield immediate financial returns, but it can save vital resources such as clean air and water. Going green offers many benefits, such as reducing life expenses and stretching savings to cover other expenses. Retirees should capitalize on embracing these eight savings tips. (For more by this author, read: Social Returns Just as Important for Millennials.)