5 Retirement Expenses Americans Forget to Budget For

Most working Americans spend their lives planning for retirement, but even smart, diligent folks can forget to account for certain expenses or underestimate how much they’ll need. As a result, some people have to change their retirement plans just to make ends meet.

See how your financial plan stacks up: Based on insights from financial planning experts combined with firsthand accounts from our residents, we’ve compiled a list of the top five hidden expenses people wish they hadn’t forgotten during retirement planning.

Does your retirement budget account for these common costs?

1. Healthcare: Out-of-pocket costs

Many people assume Medicare will pay for all the care they need in retirement, but with several gaps in drug coverage and routine care, Medicare recipients find themselves covering more expenses out of pocket than they initially anticipated. Part B covers about 80 percent of routine and preventative care but doesn’t contribute to check-ups or treatments for common care needs like dental, vision and hearing.

To continue getting dental check-ups and eye exams when you’re over 65, you’ll need to add Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), a supplemental plan offered through private insurers. Even though Part C is optional, and comes with added premiums, few older adults can afford to exclude the important coverage it provides. More than 90 percent of folks in their 50s require corrective lenses and about a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 have dental disease classified as severe. And if you’re one of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, you’ll need to budget accordingly for hearing aids and associated costs; Medicare Advantage will only cover part of the cost of a hearing aid, which can cost anywhere from $2,300 to well over $20,000.

Apart from out-of-network expenses, it’s important to set aside flexible savings to cover premiums and coinsurance and accommodate for inflation. In 2018, Fidelity estimated couples retiring at age 65 would need $280,000 in savings just for medical and healthcare costs—a number that has steadily increased since their first report in 2002.

2. Homeownership: Unpredictable upkeep

Housing costs are often the single largest monthly expense for people of any age. Even if you own your home, increasing property taxes and home maintenance costs can make it difficult to predict financial needs in the long-term. While most people hope to see their property values go up, this can be a big problem for retired folks on a fixed income. As the profile of your neighborhood grows, so do property taxes. Although property taxes rarely take a sharp, unforeseeable turn, they can mount up to a significant expense and deferral is not guaranteed for all retirees.

The cost of home maintenance is another unanticipated financial burden some homeowners fail to plan for. It’s recommended that you set aside 1 to 4 percent of your home’s value each year to cover the cost of replacing a roof, heating system or other possible expenses. This still may not be enough to pay for possible remodeling projects to make your home safer, like updating flooring choices to have more traction or adding to your electrical system for more indoor and outdoor lighting.

For those already considering downsizing to a condo or apartment, mandatory Homeowner’s Association (HOA) rules—and their associated fees—can be difficult to live with. While The Avenues at Crofton Park doesn’t charge its residents HOA fees, some developments do impose an additional fee to cover community upkeep. These expenses aren’t always regulated, either, since some HOAs lack the appropriate reserve funding to pay for large projects like installing a new HVAC system or elevator. If you’re considering moving to a development that charges HOA fees, make sure to review the fine print prior to making a commitment.

3. Grandchildren: Expensive expectations

We love our families more than anything, so it’s no wonder we want to be there for them always. Whether it’s spoiling them rotten with gifts or footing the bill on life’s big expenses, forgetting to include non-necessities in financial planning may catch up with you later. As problems with the economy have made it harder for younger generations to afford everyday living, it’s become more common for young people to turn to their parents for help. This can put a strain on grandparents, too, who are increasingly being asked to dip into their rainy-day funds to help their family avoid dire situations.

Apart from these more significant investments, general gift-giving can get expensive. No one wants to miss seeing their loved one walk down the aisle but traveling to a destination wedding or sending the bride and groom something off their registry might not have been a line item in your retirement fund. There’s no need to skip the celebration or live on a shoestring budget for months leading up to the reception. Instead, try to set aside some modest savings to spend on your loved ones later.

4. Leisure: Bucket list blues

The average retiree spends about $197 on monthly leisure costs, which is a manageable price tag for keeping busy. But, if you were planning on doing more in retirement, like traveling the world, getting your pilot’s license or restoring a vintage car, you’ll need significantly more than a couple hundred bucks to make your dream come true.

Not everyone has such grand plans, but for those who do, you’ll need to talk with a financial planner to ensure your retirement funds and any other income sources are enough to tackle things on your bucket list without coming up short on cash later in retirement.

5. Care: Long-term or in-home services

Because it’s difficult to imagine needing assistance with things we’ve been doing our entire adult lives, it’s common to under-plan for the cost of long-term care needs. Breakthroughs in modern medicine and preventative care are leading to longer, happier lives. We have more centenarians than ever before, and more people are enjoying fulfilling lifestyles well into their 70s, 80s and 90s. However, there’s one caveat to consider: necessary funds to accommodate your longer lifespan. The savings plan you had for a 20- or 25- year retirement may end up getting stretched over more than 30 years or get reallocated to accommodate sudden changes in medical costs.

Although Medicare Part A and B will help with any acute care, like short hospital stays or even skilled nursing needs, it may not contribute to private in-home care after the fact. Should your care needs change, either suddenly or slowly over time, it will be necessary to understand what you can afford in the long term. This is a highly unpredictable expense, with no way to know if it will ever apply to you or your spouse, but just because it seems unlikely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. Additionally, if at some point you have to adapt your home to meet accessibility needs (e.g. adding a ramp, lift or fixtures, widening doors, etc.), that can be a significant expense as well. One thing you can do in early retirement to defray future costs is invest in long-term care insurance. The younger you are when you invest, the more likely you’ll be to get approved and secure a discount on premiums.

Retirement is full of surprises, but with a little forethought and planning, retirement expenses don’t have to catch you off guard. We wish you health, happiness and independence during your golden years.

This post was written by Greta Iverson and published by Pivot Communication LLC. on behalf of The Avenues Crofton Park

Simplify your move to 55+ living with Bridge-to-Sell

Timing is a common concern for older adults who are planning to move to a 55+ community. Many folks feel uneasy about moving when they haven’t yet sold their home. At the same time, they worry that if they delay signing a lease until their home is sold, space may no longer be available at their chosen community.

The Avenues Crofton Park developed its unique Bridge-to-Sell program to give seniors the option to reserve an apartment or cottage without having to pay rent immediately. Our program helps those who have decided to retire at The Avenues Crofton Park, but need some additional time to sell their house or downsize their belongings before moving in.

Bridge-to-Sell helps people transition from their home to our 55+ community

“It was a wonderful comfort for me to not be scrambling for a place at the same time I was leaving San Diego”

Since The Avenues Crofton Park started offering the Bridge-to-Sell program, we’ve been able to help more people achieve peace of mind while planning their retirement at our community. About one-third of our current residents used the Bridge-to-Sell program to manage their move-in date. One of the program’s early beneficiaries is Marti, who moved in to The Avenues in August 2018 after opting in to the Bridge-to-Sell program in May 2018.

“I wanted an independent living situation, so I came over and checked out The Avenues and was really pleased,” Marti said. “It seemed to fit exactly what I was looking for. But I had yet to unload 30 years of stuff from my house, and I hadn’t put my house on the market.”

When she learned about the option to secure the exact apartment she wanted and choose a flexible move-in date, Marti felt relieved.

“The Bridge-to-Sell program was very helpful. It was a wonderful comfort for me to not be scrambling for a place at the same time I was leaving San Diego,” she said. “To have things in order and not have to make additional decisions while you’re in transit is a huge help.”

The benefits of choosing Bridge-to-Sell when planning your move

It can feel overwhelming to sign a lease if you don’t know exactly when your home might sell. Conversely, if you wait until your home is sold to sign a lease, you may feel pressure to act as quickly as possible without adequately weighing your options. For seniors who have decided to live at The Avenues, the Bridge-to-Sell program helps alleviate some of the planning and stress associated with timing their moves.

While it depends on the market, a home typically sells around two months after it’s listed. With our Bridge-to-Sell program, you can pick exactly which apartment or cottage you want to live in and choose your move-in date, even if it’s weeks out. The unit is guaranteed to be there for you when you’re ready.

This post was written by Greta Iverson and published by Pivot Communication LLC on behalf of The Avenues Crofton Park

8 Tips for Dating in Senior Living

Today’s older adults are living longer, healthier and more active lifestyles. For some, senior living communities are an ideal environment for finding “the one.” Whether you’re just starting to date again or you’re a veteran of the single scene, try applying these tips to make yourself Cupid’s next target:

Find creative ways to expand your social circle

If you’re ready to branch out and build new relationships, start looking for ways to meet new people. Start slow and stay close to home by joining clubs and attending events within your own community. If you feel involved enough already, look into community events, meetup groups or even senior speed-dating for a fun way to meet a variety of new people.

Open up about expectations

Do you have your sights set on true love, or are you looking for a conversation partner at meals? There are so many reasons to meet new people, so it’s important to make sure your interests align. If you know what type of relationship you’re seeking with someone, start a conversation early on to see if they feel the same way. For example, if someone isn’t sharing your passions for romance, be respectful of their wishes and open to building a lifelong friendship instead.

Look ahead, not back, for a great relationship

For windows and widowers, wanting a new relationship can bring mixed emotions. Dating can be a double-edged sword for those who have already found, and lost, their soulmate: on one hand, it’s not uncommon to feel guilt for wanting a partner, and on the other, it’s tempting to seek out someone who reminds you of your late companion. If you’re feeling uncertain about new relationships, consider taking it slow and focusing on getting to know potential partners. Rather than recreating the chemistry you had, try to branch out and date people who inspire and challenge you in different ways.

Stay confident! Compatibility is your most attractive quality

Age is just a number and looks aren’t everything. Unsurprisingly, adults over 50 are using dating apps differently than their younger counterparts. More seniors are focusing on finding suitors with lifestyles compatible to their own. Instead of staying stuck in a limited dating pool, older adults on the dating scene tend to be more flexible about a potential partner’s age or appearance and more invested in finding someone with shared interests.

Let your loved ones know

Having a support system available to give advice and look out for your best interests will make it easier and more fun to ease into the dating scene. Listen to what your loved ones are saying and respect their advice, especially when it comes to safety and privacy, but be aware that, for example, not all adult children will be immediately accepting of a widowed parent reentering the dating scene, and sometimes they need time to adjust to the idea too.

…but don’t let loved ones be deal-breakers

You don’t need to rule out dating just because a loved one hasn’t entirely warmed up to the idea. Instead, be prepared to talk about why you want to date and how you plan to do it safely. When introducing new partners or describing new relationships, take a more gentle or subtle approach at first and reassure your loved ones about how your new partner makes you happy.

Consider taking your love life online

Technology is changing how the world connects. Whether you’re having trouble meeting new people in your community or finding more duds than sweethearts, sites like OurTime and eHarmony are great platforms to introduce yourself to the single community. Smartphone apps like Stitch make it even more convenient for finding companions of all kinds when you’re already out and about.

…and stay wary of online scammers

Even on tried and true senior-friendly dating sites, remember to stay alert for signs of misuse. Always stay patient and cautious about who you choose to meet, and never give out money or personal information related to finance or social security. If someone seems suspicious, cut them loose!

This post was originally written by Greta Iverson and published by Pivot Communication LLC on behalf of Golden West Senior Living