Without a Thorough Retirement Budget, Your Savings Won’t Cut It

One of the things most people forget to include in their retirement plan is saving after retirement. A plan that only draws down your funds is a problem in the making.

If you make it to age 65 in good health, you can expect to make it well into your 80s. And by age 66, 69% of Americans are out of the full-time workforce.

That’s a long time in retirement without a paycheck or any savings. And the longer we live, the greater the chance we will be hit with unexpected expenses – costs that most retirement plans don’t address.

Like a roof

The average life of a roof, depending on where you live, is anywhere from 20 to 30 years. The average cost to replace a roof for a 1,500-square-foot home varies depending on where you live, from a low of $4,700 to more than $10,000.

(Those numbers seem very low to me. I replaced the roof on a 1,100-square-foot cottage three years ago. That was $11,000.)

Coming up with even $10,000 is not an easy task for most retired people. Some of the numbers I’ve seen say the average American doesn’t have the cash to pay for a major car repair.

Another thing most of us don’t think about is major appliances. The stove, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher in your kitchen will very likely need to be replaced during your retirement years. You’re looking at anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. And that’s a reasonable estimate. Get fancy with stainless steel and options, and the sky’s the limit.

The average life of an air-conditioning unit in Florida is seven to 10 years. That’s a quick $5,000 or $7,000, minimum.

Even if we use the low number that I quoted to replace a roof, we’re looking at somewhere in the area of $20,000 to $25,000 in replacement costs, before inflation, for items we cannot live without.

Here’s where the hurt comes in – the money side.

A Thorough Retirement Budget Expects the Unexpected…

If you include the people who don’t have a retirement plan, between the ages of 56 and 61, the median amount Americans have saved for retirement is $17,000.

It’s a little better for those who do have a retirement account. Their median amount saved is $126,000. But if the numbers above are accurate, and I have no reason to doubt them, just replacing key items will account for 20% of your total savings.

And I haven’t included the cost of transportation.

There is no easy answer. Saving money, even when we were working, was difficult. But if we are to spend 20 and even 25 years unemployed, we need a more inclusive retirement plan for expendable and replacement items.

Make sure your retirement plan covers more than just your day-to-day expenses.

Good investing,



Somewhat of a renaissance man, Steve worked as a professional broker and has been an active trader of bonds for more than two decades, specializing in ultra-short-maturity corporate bonds. But before entering the investment industry, Steve was a naval aviator, flying fixed-and rotary-winged aircrafts, and also served as a surface warfare officer. Steve’s regular video series featured on Wealthy Retirement called “Slap in the Face” Award is some the most amusing investment content we republish.

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