How to Retire on a Budget

When anyone nears retirement age, it becomes more important to rethink the fantasy plans to match the amount of money you actually have saved.
When anyone nears retirement age, it becomes more important to rethink the fantasy plans to match the amount of money you actually have saved.

While retirement might be out of reach if you are on a budget, it may still be possible when your nest egg is much smaller than you had expected it would be. There are many ways to cut back on costs or supplement your income during retirement. Of course, you may have to get creative with your expenses and adjust your expectations to make it work.

Most people carry some kind of mental picture about their ideal retirement. Maybe it includes traveling the world, living in a country club community, sailing, fishing, golfing, or any number of other activities. But when anyone nears retirement age, it becomes more important to rethink the fantasy plans to match the amount of money you actually have saved.

Home Choice is Important

Your home is likely to be your largest investment, and as such, your home expenses should be the first thing you consider before retirement. If you are relocating, don’t let an impressive model home lure you into becoming a slave to an oppressive mortgage. You will be much happier — and better off in the long run — if you choose a home within your financial means.

Choosing an affordable home may mean opting for an attached villa or a condo over your dream single-family home with its golf course view. Even if you currently own your home outright, you might be better positioned for retirement if you downsize to a more efficient home. Be sure to include ongoing maintenance costs and homeowners fees when comparing the costs of two different homes.

Share the Expenses

For single retirees, sharing the living expenses with roommates can make a big difference in your ability to make ends meet. The cost of rent, or a mortgage, alone is a good reason for shared living, but if you can live with friends who are willing to share other costs as well (e.g. groceries, or even a car) you will all be able to make your retirement funds go much farther.

Traveling is another retirement goal which may need a bit of an adjustment when your retirement fund is lower than you had expected it to be. That does not mean that you have to forego travel completely. There are many ways to see the world on a shoestring budget. Retirees can take advantage of deals during the off-season, join travel clubs for group discounts or even enjoy an affordable, educational experience with a trip through Elderhostel.

With some creative thinking, living on a tight budget can still allow for an enjoyable retirement. Invite friends to dinner instead of going to restaurants, rent DVDs instead of going to the movies, and get in the habit of clipping coupons. You may even be able to find some additional income by selling arts and crafts online, taking on an occasional consulting job, babysitting, or taking out a reverse mortgage on your home.

While it’s always a good idea to start saving early, a tiny nest egg doesn’t have to mean the end of your retirement dreams. You may simply need to reconsider the lifestyle you will have and find creative ways to stick with a reasonable budget.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

A woman drinking her morning coffee on a balcony overlooking Downtown Miami.

Urban 55+ Communities: You Can Retire in These Cities

There are many benefits to living in a city, from having easy access to daily needs like grocery stores and pharmacies to having an assortment of cultural amenities and entertainment options nearby. Still not convinced? Here are some cities with urban 55 communities that just might pique your interest.

Happy mature couple dancing together in the kitchen at home in a 55+ community.

Top 10 Benefits of Living in a 55+ Community

Living in a 55+ communitiy is so much more than just convienent for active adult retirees. The right community will help them downsize, manage their finances, increase their activitiy, and meet new people. Check out all the benefits of living in a 55+ community.

View of Downtown Provo, Utah during autumn at dusk.

The Best Cities for Aging in Place

Deciding on where to retire is always a challenging question. What do you look for when searching for your ideal place to age in place? There are a variety of factors that come into play when looking for that perfect spot such as health care, wellness, general livability, transportation, or community engagement, just to name a few.

Closed up on a tiny wood home model on green grass with sunlight background.

This Month in Real Estate: A Housing Market Summary

The new year is showing that the predicted changes coming to the housing market were accurate and kept with the trend for 55+ homebuyers. If you’re just entering the housing market as a homebuyer, make sure you’re aware of the changes happening so you’re prepared to make the best purchasing decision. 

Aerial view of a picturesque olive plantation in Bakersfield, California.

The Cheapest Places to Live in California

With almost year-round sunshine, some of the world’s prettiest beaches, world-class shopping and dining, and a never-ending list of recreational and entertainment opportunities, it’s no wonder California is such as sought-after state to settle down in.

A sunset over Huntington Beach Pier in California.

The Active Adult Travel Guide to California

California is known for its diverse regions and cities. This means if you’re an active adult looking to vacation in the Golden State, you’ll have a lot of options. We breakdown the state into its three main regions and find everything you should do while on vacation.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top