(Financial Health.net)- Smart Quiz: What Do You Want to Do In Retirement?
- An Annual Cruise
- Time With Grandkids
- Explore Wineries
- Limitless Golfing
Answer: An Annual Cruise Retirement (hopefully) means relaxation, personal enjoyment, and plenty of free time. It’s also one of the best times to self-indulge in activities and opportunities you may not have had access to throughout your working years. It’s also a fantastic time to explore the world from the water; cruising is an easy ticket to luxury and adventure all in one.
In fact, seniors are the number one demographic served by the cruise market. Some are sailing so often, that companies like Victory Cruise Lines now offer customized packages exclusively tailored to the needs of retirement-age Americans. Nearly 19 percent of all seniors have cruised at least once in the last 12 months. That makes sailing one of the most popular post-retirement activities in the USA.
Whether you love the idea of a cruise yourself, or something else appeals to you more, your ability to budget can greatly extend your options. We’ll teach you a few tips for staying money-conscious so you can make the most of your newfound freedom more often.
Create a Cost Estimate
Before you set out on an adventure of any kind, take a close look at the costs involved with enjoying yourself. Make a list of expenditures; include everything you can think of, including airfare, restaurant rates, drink prices, tips, and spending cash. Come up with a budget limit you feel comfortable spending and stick with it.
To avoid confusion and difficult calculations, create a designated savings account just for your next adventure. This one action ensures you aren’t pulling funds from accounts that affect your daily household budget, potentially interfering with survival funds.
Save With a Travel Agent
Vacations can be expensive, but there are smart ways to cut costs without sacrificing fun in the process. It’s easy to go online and search “best cruise deals” or “great vacation getaways,” but you’ll inevitably end up seeing ads in the results. It isn’t always easy to tell a good deal from a good spin from search results alone.
Instead, try a visit with a travel agent. Agents often have the inside scoop on up-and-coming deals and travel tips. Better yet, they’re well-connected, meaning they may be able to score you an even better deal on cruises, activities, entertainment and more. You aren’t obligated to take the deal they offer, even if you visit, so all you have to lose is a few minutes of your time in exchange for deep savings.
Maximize Your Travel Dollars
Maximizing your vacation dollars starts with shaving off unnecessary costs. As for how you achieve that? Try these three top-notch strategies:
- Avoid holiday and spring break travel (rates are usually more expensive during peak travel times). Travel during the off-season instead.
- Ask about retirement-age discounts. Some cruise lines, hotels and destinations offer steep discounts to retirees.
- Utilize included food and entertainment already offered — or, seek out all-inclusive packages. You know the total cost even before you leave, making it easier to budget for your adventure.
If you do want to splurge on a special show, activity or restaurant, define a target amount of spending cash to take with you. Spend this budget as you see fit, but stay disciplined and avoid pulling out even more money unless it’s an emergency.
Remember to Replenish Your Savings
The golden rule of budgeting for post-retirement fun is to always spend a little bit of time restoring the balance after you get back. Maybe you want to plan for another cruise, a trip to Disney World with the grandkids or just some time in a mountain chalet next winter. To replenish your travel fund, set aside the highest percentage of your monthly income you can reasonably afford by shifting it back into your travel fund. Just be sure to pay any debts, bills and “needs” first, before you start budgeting for travel.
In retirement, your goal should always be finding a balance between what you love to do and what you’re responsible for. With smart budgeting tips like these, it’s easier to enjoy more of the activities you love with less stress. Reach for your goals and make your dreams a reality by planning ahead and saving so your retirement includes everything you want.
~Here’s to Your Financial Health