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Your New Retirement Lifestyle – Frugality: Doing the Best With What You Have (Part 1)

As I’ve recommended in my previous books, retirees should try to live a creative, innovative, and fun lifestyle that is within your means financially. Frugal living during retirement does not need to entail obstacles to living your dreams. You may not need to change your whole lifestyle either. It is all a matter of how you approach frugality. Try to do the most that you can with the resources you have available.Being frugal involves getting the best deal and may lead to you having fun and doing the things you want for a longer period of time. You may need to evaluate your lifestyle and adjust your expenses in an effort to allow you to do more and different things that are important sources of enjoyment during these years. Certainly your income must satisfy your expense needs. Changing an existing lifestyle during retirement may simply only involve reorganization. Basically speaking, a frugal retirement is carefully planned. You spend your money wisely to gain the maximum benefits. Ultimately, you would like to have a lot of fun with only minor adjustments. In fact, with a little creativity, you may need less retirement income. And, you may not need to incur ongoing debt with that credit card. If you intend to base your retirement strictly on leisure activities, the amount of money you spend could be excessive.As you develop your retirement plan, consider how important personal development and enrichment and productivity are in addition to leisure. In terms of learning, the cost can be pretty reasonable. You will find that public universities and community colleges often provide courses at nominal cost for seniors and retirees. Courses may be offered at your local senior citizen center or park and recreation department. Nonprofit organizations such as Elderhostel sponsor low-cost opportunities around the world. Obviously, you can explore individual hobbies or activities. Productivity activities can even be a better bargain, especially if you consider volunteering. As a volunteer you can give back and perhaps engage in a learning experience with little or no cost to you.I suggest that you begin by evaluating your expenses, both current and anticipated. Prioritize items in your budget relate to you enjoying your retirement. Focus on areas that may seem a bit too indulgent or excessive. Sometimes we can take for granted our luxury cars (and associated taxes) when, in fact, a more down-to-earth vehicle will do. The end result may free up a bit of money that can be used for other things. Ultimately, these actions may readily reduce debt and lead you down a path to enjoyable retirement lifestyle. Living a frugal retirement lifestyle may involve some experimentation.Online Retirement CalculatorsThere are a variety of on online calculators available to assist you. For example, CNN Money offers links to help you to “run your numbers.” Additionally, you can simply type in “retirement calculator” into your favorite search engine and come up with a lengthy list of programs.The calculators below are generally easy to use.• FINRA – The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is an independent organization that oversees brokerage firms. This tool is straightforward and simple to utilize.• The American Association of Retired Persons features a calculator, which offers the ability to combine information from two people and change your rates of return over time.• T. Rowe Price offers an easy to use calculator called a Retirement Planning Worksheet.The next article in this series will feature specific suggestions on how to enjoy various components of your retirement lifestyle on a frugal basis. I am a firm believer that we can reinvent and rediscover our passions during our “third age”.