Retirement is supposed to be a stress-free period in your life when you finally get to relax, unwind, and spend your days however you choose. But it can also break the bank, particularly if you underestimate how expensive your golden years can be.
Everyday living expenses can be expensive enough, but there are a few other costs that can quickly get out of control. Left unchecked, these expenses can potentially sabotage your entire retirement.
Most people don't want to think about healthcare expenses in retirement, but that could cost you. Although Medicare will help cover some of these costs, you'll still face some (potentially significant) out-of-pocket expenses even with health insurance.
To start, you'll need to pay for all deductibles, premiums, coinsurance, and copays when you're enrolled in Medicare. In addition, there are some expenses Medicare won't cover, such as dental, vision, and prescription drugs. You'll need to buy additional coverage if you want help paying for them, which comes at an extra charge.
Altogether, the average retiree spends roughly $4,300 per year on out-of-pocket healthcare costs, according to a study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. That's a significant chunk of change, and that number could increase as you age and start to develop more health issues.
To avoid the sticker shock of healthcare costs, make sure you know what to expect once you retire. Decide what type of Medicare plan is right for you, and research the costs associated with your chosen plan. A little legwork now to find the most cost-effective plan to fit your needs can help you save loads of cash later.
2. Long-term care
When you're nearing retirement age, you're most likely imagining all the fun things you'll be doing once you retire. The last thing you probably want to think about, then, is the idea of moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility in your final years of retirement. But if you don't plan for long-term care now, you could be in for a nasty surprise later.
Long-term care is one of the most expensive retirement costs you can face. The average private room in a nursing home costs over $92,000 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Even hiring a health aide to come to your home and help with daily activities costs an average of $20.50 per hour, which adds up if you need consistent help around the house.
Medicare typically won't help pay for long-term care, so you're on your own when covering these considerable costs. And before you write it off and assume you won't need long-term care in the future, keep in mind that roughly 70% of retirees eventually require this type of care, research from the Department of Health and Human Services found.
Because there's a good chance you'll need long-term care to some degree in retirement, it's essential to start planning for it now. One option is to simply save more to build the costs into your retirement plan. That can be tough, though, since it's impossible to predict just how much care you'll need and how much it will cost. Another option, then, is to enroll in long-term care insurance. Although premiums are hefty and can cost a couple thousand dollars per year, when you're faced with the idea of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket, insurance might be worth the price.
There's nothing wrong with traveling in retirement. In fact, retirement is often the perfect opportunity to travel more when you're no longer attached to your job. But it's important to plan for these costs so they don't bust your budget.
Roughly 40% of retirees say they've spent more than they planned on travel, a survey from Capital Group found, and a report from AARP revealed that the average baby boomer spends around $6,600 per year on travel.
It's easy to let travel expenses spiral out of control, especially if you're not pacing yourself. When you first retire and you have all that money sitting in your 401(k) or IRA just waiting to be spent, it can be tempting to splurge and check off all your bucket list travel destinations as soon as possible. But do your best to stick to your budget and not overspend. Set annual spending limits for yourself so you can still travel and enjoy your retirement, but not at the risk of blowing through your savings too quickly.
There are a lot of costs to consider when preparing for retirement, and some will have a bigger impact on your savings than others. Forgetting to plan for certain expenses can be detrimental to your financial future, but the more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you'll be.