It's not always easy to foresee what your retirement will be like, especially if you're not currently on track to save for it. Planning ahead is important, but even then there are some things that can't be predicted. You might have a tough time spending less money or making ends meet with the income of your retirement fund alone. There are some steps you can take now to ensure your financial future won't feel so bleak.
1) Have a plan: Make sure you know how much money you'll need in retirement and how long it will last. Start by estimating your yearly income needs and multiplying that number by 25-30 years (depending on expected lifespan). Next, estimate the total amount of savings necessary to generate this level of income. This can help you plan your savings strategy and determine when you'll need to start taking income (i.e., in retirement).
2) Prepare for inflation: Once retired, costs will likely rise. It's possible that everything could increase, including groceries, housing, utilities, health care expenses, transportation costs and recreation/leisure activities. Remember, the money you think you'll need in retirement might not be enough.
3) Find ways to create income: You never know what your situation is going to require until it happens, so be ready for whatever comes your way. Get creative and find means of generating additional income in retirement (side job, rental property, etc.). It may come in handy if you need an investment property to rent out, a way to generate a higher income from your existing savings or a good return on your investments.
4) Plan for unexpected changes: Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing the future and that unknown can be both scary and stressful. It's always better to be ready for any curveballs life throws at you, which means being prepared for the worst case scenario. It might mean stashing away even more money or putting off retirement until you have enough saved to cover unforeseen changes in your expenses.
5) Keep remaining lifestyle costs low: Your retirement will be a lot more enjoyable if you can keep spending on necessities low. This means continuing to shop at thrift stores, growing your own vegetables and making do with what you already have. This can be a fun way to embrace an affordable lifestyle and even save more money than before. If this sounds like you, then you're ready for retirement!