I’m Retired Now. How Long Will My Money Last?

Here’s a real eye-opening calculator: How Long Will My Money Last In Retirement? (click here).

As long as DH and I can keep our monthly expenses at $2500 a month in our retirement (one car, one cell phone, one house), our current money holdings will pass the 30 year mark.  Whew!  At first I was elated that we weren’t going to run out of our money in retirement until I made an observation.  How realistic is expecting our expenses to remain at $2500 per month several years from now despite plugging in a 3% inflation increase in the calculator?  What if our cost-of-living per month jumped to $3000 or even $3500? Then what?

I re-ran the calculator plugging in the new anticipated monthly increase and got an eye-popping result.  Based on a $500 to $1000 a month increase, our retirement money would run out after 18 to 20 years.  That’s not good!  We’ll be in our late 70′s to early 80′s and who in the world wants to be that old with no money?  We’d be forced to sell our home and either downsize to an even smaller domicile or move in with someone.  This is something neither DH or I would ever want to do.  BUT, if we had to downsize yet once again, we’d do it. Move in with someone?  That I’d have to think long and hard about.

I’m glad I used the calculator because it brought some valuable information to my attention.  It also made clear that DH and I needed to spruce up our full retirement goals.  I’m retired six years already.  DH however, still has ten more years to go. (He’s younger than me.)  Ten years gives us enough time to make some adjustments to our budget, start saving more and eliminate things we don’t need, want or use. Serious thoughts are going into selling the vacation home.  I think its usefulness has run it’s course.

Lately, I’ve been elated just to be living in our home in the Hudson Valley longer and longer.  The more time we spend here the more things I am discovering to do. First off, was discovering the Adirondack Mountains.  Next month we are journeying off to Niagara Falls for a long weekend.  I hadn’t realized how close we were to some serious vacation spots. New York State seems to have everything I long for: mountains and the beach.  We’re only a five-hour drive from Montreal, Canada. How cool would it be to spend a few weekends there?  And eat authentic French croissants and cuisine? Who needs Paris?

I am also sort of liking the cooler weather. I can no longer tolerate high heat days.  I’m actually looking forward to walking (snowshoeing) in the snow!  It’s great to hike and journey through the cooler months vs trying to walk in 90 degree, sweltering, humid, hot days (and nights!).  I don’t like being inside a house with air conditioning on.  I want to be outside all the time! Do I really want to spend two to three months in Florida anymore? Truthfully, two weeks in February is more than enough.

What’s happening to me?

What’s happened is that I am enjoying staying still.  I’ve changed. I want to put down roots, literally.  I want to have a vegetable garden and plant fruit trees.  My constantly fluttering from place to place has put a damper on my style.  I want to stay AND live in one place now. Doing so would free up a lot of money and it could be re-directed into a savings account.

I had a budget meeting with DH last night and we discussed my new findings and revelations. We also discussed mooring our sailboat back in New York vs Rhode Island. I’m longing again for the Long Island coastline which is a closer drive to than RI. The waters are still the same.  The price tag would be more affordable. We’ll still get our beach fix in the summer but less cumbersome and financially un-restrained. It’s all good.

I was unanimously elected to a political seat here in my home town.  It’s been fantastic attending the monthly meetings and getting involved in local town functions.  I’ve been meeting new people and attending social functions.  I’m making new friends! I have new neighbors! There’s acoustic night once a month at the library. Free weekly Italian conversational lessons every Thursday. Memoir writing class every Wednesday. Parties at the Hudson Yacht Club. Free concerts at the local university.  The list has been growing steadily. I don’t want to miss a thing here.  I don’t want to leave.

That’s the great part about being in your ‘Encore Life’  You get to pick and choose how you want to live because you’re free to do so.  I can change with the wind and do stuff on a whim. It’s good to take a moment and re-evaluate what you are doing and re-adjust your goals. Making sure my money lasts throughout my lifetime was a good place to start.

And so my beat goes on.

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8 thoughts on “I’m Retired Now. How Long Will My Money Last?

  1. Since my plans were all shaken up I need to sit down and go over everything after I catch up all the bills(shooting for February). I did not touch Will’s 401k but simply rolled it into a roth ira. Why because that is all I have to fall back on right now. I did raise my 401 by the amount of my raise from my new job. The house is paid for and I will not touch it for any reason. The only way that will change is if I decide to sell in a few years but we will see. I know that in a few year, all the kids will be gone and it will be just me and God willing mom. So when I reach that point I will decide if I should sell the house and buy a smaller rancher or condo but they are on the back burner for me right now since right now I have a paid for home that has been maintained. Will I sell it in 5 years or so I don’t know but for now it stays.

    I know that I could have used the 5 percent raise towards bills but I think it is better off in my 401k right now since my work matches up to 10 percent and free money is free money. My next thing after I am caught up is to look into bonds(not sure what the interest rates are any more) or continue to put money into the roth IRA. I am also hoping that I will be able to put at least 150.00 a month to the side once things are even again. I have accepted that I am on my own and I am ok with that, would I rather have Will with me, well yes more than life itself but life goes on and I need to be ready. I need to be debt free and to also make sure that I can live comfortably in the future. My mom will stay with me as long as she physically can, but she does have a long term care insurance(so do i now) if it comes to it. We have discussed buying a condo or a small rancher since with a condo we wouldnt have to shovel and such but with a small rancher we could still have a backyard and room for the kids if need be. But one thing at a time right

    • Judy,
      Given all that has happened, you are doing a fine job of keeping everything together. I think you also made a very wise decision with Will’s retirement money. Trust me, you are going to need it when you get older. In retrospect, I should have worked longer and saved more. The things that are happening in our economy could NEVER have been foreseen by me or anyone for that matter. WE will be fine BUT just barely. Thankfully we have ten more years before DH fully retires, so we plan to sock away as much $$ as we can.
      Who knew?
      Have you made a decision on Will’s Apple stock yet? That company looks like it is just going to stand still, so where ever it’s at today, may be for a longer time.
      Keep doing what you are doing. You are an inspiration to us all. Love and peace.

  2. BTW, if you do go to Montreal, then drive 2-3 more hours to Quebec city – that’s a real budget trip to France. There is no other place in North America like old Quebec city. Montreal is just a nice North American city where the majority of people happen to speak French. Also, next month when you go to Niagara Falls check Letchworth Canyon – it is a beauty at this time of the year and it’s pretty much on your way. Happy exploring!

  3. Sounds like it’s a great plan! It’s nice that you can escape the winter cold for a couple of weeks to go to Florida. Sarasota is gorgeous! ;)! I miss New York. I LOVE the mountains. We are in Virginia for the long haul, or at least until hubby retires (oh, in about 17 years….) i like the idea of planting roots, but I’ve struggled with that since I’m not a fan of the area in which I live. Some day I’ll find my forever home, but until then I will make the best of what I have here.

    • Hi Sharon. I’ve only lived up here for a few years. It hasn’t been boring. Always something new to discover. I think upstate NY has been growing on me. It just feels more lovely every day.
      Who knew?
      I do feel very fortunate to have found someplace to live that I love. It makes all the difference. We moved here when my youngest was in college.
      Life is long. You will find your special place. It’s a process.

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