Tribune Print Share Text

Ways to put cash in your pocket

Created date

December 21st, 2010

Everyone knows that many expenses, like health care and travel, can increase during retirement. On the flip side, there are some expenses that will actually go down when you stop working. Certainly, you want to be as financially prepared as possible when you retire, but it s nice to know that there are still a few ways to put some extra cash in your pocket during your golden years.

The cost of doing business

The obvious expenses that disappear when you retire are those related to work from business attire to commuting costs. All of those lunches out, parking fees, and dry cleaning bills can really take a bite out of your paycheck. Jan Cullinane, coauthor ofThe New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life, estimates that she and her husband trimmed about $600 from their annual budget simply because their dry cleaning bills dropped when they retired.

Fun for less

Youth has its price. Cullinane reminds older adults to take advantage of senior discounts. You can expect the price of everything from meals to movie tickets to drop a bit during retirement. Cullinane says you can save big bucks by taking advantage of senior discounts when you travel. Hotels, cruise lines, and museums, for example, all typically offer reduced rates to older adults. There is a $10 America the Beautiful Lifetime Senior Pass for National Parks and Federal Recreation sites that charge a fee, Cullinane says. We went to the Pacific Northwest last year and saved more than $50 in admission fees to the parks we visited.

Time is money

When you retire, the 40 (or more) hours you used to spend at the office suddenly become yours to use however you please. Carole Peck, a financial planner with offices in Chicago and Naples, Fla., says you can turn that newfound free time into money. For starters, she says, retirees have time to comparison shop to get the best prices on everything from groceries to gifts. If you re an avid golfer or theater-goer, Peck suggests volunteering at your local golf course or theater in exchange for discounted rates. If philanthropy is a priority, Peck says you can make a difference without spending a dime.

Right-size your life

Housing is the biggest expense in any budget, so retirement could be the right time to think about right-sizing to a retirement community. The move can free up serious cash for recreation. New York financial advisor Colin McKenna says some retirees are waiting for the real estate market to improve before selling their houses. If you re ready to move, you may want to evaluate whether the cost of maintaining a big house you don t need is worth waiting several more years for the market to readjust. People are in love with that old number they have in their heads, McKenna says. If you put your house up for sale and you re not getting buyers, it s probably not worth what you think it is.