Spending some money now can make your retirement life significantly better. Whether the money goes to keeping you healthy and safe or cutting costs here and there — some investments pay for themselves more than twice over.
Wider Healthcare Coverage
Basic Medicare won’t be enough to cover your medical expenses when you retire. On a basic plan, expensive hospital visits won’t be covered — especially for non-emergency procedures. Basic medicare also won’t cover your medication. Most Americans spend more than $1,000 a year on medication and seniors spend significantly more. Medicare only covers the most basic preventive services such as routine check-ups — excluding cancer screenings, eye exams, hearing exams, and dental check-ups.
Corrective or preventive procedures such as LASIK surgery and dental work are also not covered. Eyeglasses and hearing aids that would help you retain your quality of life are considered non-emergency procedures and are similarly left uncovered. An extra $25 a month for Medicare Advantage coverage will cover your medications, preventive procedures, treatments, as well as equipment and devices that maintain your quality of life. You’ll have to go to a private insurance company for Medicare advantage, and you can customize your plans to limit or broaden your coverage.
Electricity bills will cost you $100-$120 a month — and increases are on the horizon as the US pushes for green energy. One way to get rid of your electricity spending and insulate yourself from future price hikes is to go green yourself. Solar power systems can provide more than enough energy to run your house during the daytime, with excess production going to the grid as a buffer for your nighttime consumption.
Most three-bedroom homes can be powered by a 10-kW system, and homes in elevated cities like Denver and Salt Lake City can opt for lower-capacity systems. A 10-kW solar power system costs around $10,000. With a 10-year loan, the savings on your electricity bills should be enough to cover your monthly payments. Veterans can even earn 15-20 dollars a month on a VA loan, as their premiums will cost less than their monthly electricity bills. Solar panels will pay for themselves in just 8-12 years. Most panels can last for 35-45 years, providing free electricity throughout your retirement and additional savings of around $30,000-$40,000.
Falls and accidents are almost unavoidable as one gets older. 1-in-3 seniors suffer from falls each year — and most of them require extensive treatments. Falls can be extremely dangerous and a bad slip can rob you of your mobility and independence. The bathroom is the most likely place to suffer falls (80 percent chance), and its hard surfaces can make injuries more serious. A few measures to keep it safe should make your home significantly safer.
Start by removing rugs or mats that can cause slips or entangle a walking aid. Install a few grab bars and supports leading to the toilet. Sitting down and getting up can be hard on the knees. A few supports around the toilet and elevated seats should make using it safer and easier. Getting into a tub or just showering can be difficult or even dangerous. Opt for a walk-in tub specifically designed for seniors. Walk-in tubs will allow you to take baths sitting down with your feet planted on the ground — eliminating the risk of slips and falls. Installing a walk-in tub and the necessary supports and grab bars will cost around $2,000-$5,000 — which is a small price to pay to avoid visits to the hospital or losing mobility.
Small Business, Big Investment
If you are thinking of retiring but are not fond of gardening, playing Bingo or golf on the weekends, why not start a small business that satisfies your craving for creativity and social interaction? Many retirees and veterans who want to start their own mom and pop shops have started small businesses. Often these businesses have to be certified as service-disabled veteran owned, which is a special program under the government. These businesses help veterans expand their investment opportunities after their years of service. If you are a retiree, there are small business loans on offer from the government or your local bank.
A Gym or Activity Membership
Americans are living longer lives. One of the fastest-growing demographics in the US is seniors over the age of 90. Most seniors expect to lose their mobility and independence at that age — however, keeping yourself fit can stave off the effects of time. Regular exercise prevents your musculature and bones from deteriorating — even reversing some of the effects of aging.
Keeping your weight down also reduces your chances of developing conditions and problems associated with obesity like heart problems, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and many others. Any kind of regular physical activity also reduces your chances of dying (from any cause) by 50 percent. Opt for group activities as much as possible. Physical activity has been proven to fortify one’s mental faculties and delay/prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s — more so when paired with social interactions.
Your 401k isn’t the only place you should be putting money on. Invest money to make your home safer, ensure proper healthcare, reduce your bills, and ensure a healthier longer life.