Retirement Prep and Crisis Prep Are Two Peas in a Pod
Most people think of preparing for a crisis and preparing for retirement as two completely separate activities.
But if you think about it, they are similar. There is plenty of overlap. The main difference is that with retirement, you can see it coming from a distance.
Preparing for either one can help you in your preparations for the other. For one thing, preparing for a disaster will save you money in the long run. And that will help you during retirement.
And for another, preparing for retirement will allow you to afford some of the things you need to prepare for an emergency now.
Earn plenty, spend little
Today I want to look at some ways you can prepare for retirement. Even if you’re already retired, they will help you deal with retirement better.
And some of these ideas will also help you prepare for a crisis that just might occur before you retire.
Preparing for retirement involves two basic principles. Earn as much as you can and spend as little as you can.
Now, that’s not always as easy as it sounds. It can be challenging. You won’t be able to put all these suggestions into practice. But if you can do some of them, you’ll be in better shape.
Before I get into these recommendations, let’s take a look at a few statistics that may surprise you.
- 28 percent of Americans say they have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.
- 50 percent say they could not come up with $2,000 if they needed it in the next month.
- 54 percent say they have not tried to calculate how much money they will need for retirement.
- 39 percent of retirees (and more than 50 percent of workers) say they have a problem with their level of debt.
Needless to say, the more money you have heading into retirement, the more likely you’ll have enough to live on through your retirement years. So, here are suggestions for generating cash now.
Sell some stuff
If your basement and other storage spaces are typical, you probably have some items you will never use again.
These could include furniture, clothes, china, glassware, records, CDs, etc. Selling them on eBay or Craigslist could generate some cash.
If you and your spouse have two cars but really only need one, that’s another item that could bring in cash.
Obviously you don’t want to sell anything with sentimental value because you’ll regret it later. But there might be plenty of items you could part with and be just fine.
Market your skills
Regardless of whether you are still working fulltime or have already retired, you probably have a marketable talent or two.
Maybe you have mechanical skills and could fix cars or appliances on the side. Or perhaps you can make clothes or quilts.
Pet sitting and babysitting are two other options. Both can be done in your free time and bring in some extra money.
There might be plenty of other odd jobs you could do. Such as consulting. Or selling other people’s items and earning a commission on them.
Other marketable talents
Did you excel in a particular area while in school? If so, perhaps you could be a tutor? There are plenty of parents looking for ways to get their kids caught up in certain subjects.
How about coaching? If you were an athlete and know a particular sport well, maybe you could earn some money coaching a kids’ team.
Being a temp has worked out well for a lot of people. Some employers are looking for part-time employees.
Do you like museums? If you bone up on what a local museum specializes in, you might be able to find part-time work as a tour guide.
Just as important as earning more money is spending less money. You can do this in a wide variety of ways.
One idea is downsizing your home. Assuming all the kids are grown and gone, you may have more house than you need. Moving into a smaller place should reduce your monthly costs.
Losing your landline will save money each month. You can probably also cut back on your cable bill.
Resisting restaurants is another money saver. Eating leftovers sometimes rather than dining out will enable you to put more money away.
Slash your supermarket bill
You can cut your grocery bills significantly by following some of these steps:
- Look for sale prices and buy in bulk when possible.
- Clip and use coupons, but only for items you would have purchased anyway.
- Join loyalty rewards programs at the stores you frequent.
- Don’t neglect the top and bottom shelves at the store. The best deals are often found there.
- Buy unsliced meat and cheese in the refrigerated aisle instead of sliced items at the deli.
- Eat leftovers several times a week. At least for lunch, if not dinner.
- Grow your own food. Not only will it be inexpensive, it will be tasty and nutritious as well.
More money savers
Here are a few more thoughts rerding saving money.
Pay down your debt as much as possible. Even if it’s paying $25 or $50 more than the minimum amount due each month, it will help. And try not to take on any additional debt.
Lower your cost of living, including energy usage. Turn off lights, close vents in rooms you don’t use much and use ceiling fans to better circulate the air.
Stay healthy. This is a good idea at any stage of life. But with healthcare costs being so high, avoiding the doctor will leave more money in your account. Regular exercise and some lifestyle changes might be a good start.
Preparing for retirement and preparing for a crisis have lots in common. Getting involved with one will certainly help you with the other.