inflation

What to Do when Inflation Deflates your Retirement Plans

Inflation has been quite rampant over the past few months with little to no end in sight, which is causing many older employees and recent retirees to worry about whether they can continue to afford covering their daily expenses. Although Social Security is designed to provide cost of living adjustments every so often, these still often fall short.

How Inflation Affects Retirement

It’s crucial to remember that inflation has a significant impact on anyone who is seeking out a traditional retirement as well as those individuals who are keen to retire early. 

Inflation is classified as the general increase in the price of goods and services over a period of time, and while this has averaged out at around 2% per year previously, this percentage has increased substantially over the past year or two. This means the cost of everything from groceries to gas, medical care and housing will continue rising for the foreseeable future. 

Minimizing Financial Losses

Below are some steps that can be taken to help ensure that you don’t go broke after retiring:

Trim Regular Expenses wherever Possible

If your budget is already tight, any further price increases will make it almost impossible to survive from month to month. Pricing for services such as phone contracts, home internet and insurance can often be negotiated, especially if you inform your current provider that you’re considering switching to another company. 

Now is also the time to thoroughly peruse bank statements to ensure that you aren’t paying for any unused memberships or services that you may have canceled a while ago.

Change Grocery Shopping Habits

If you’ve noticed an increase in the cost of groceries and you haven’t been adding anything extra to your cart, it’s time to make a few changes. These can include switching from fresh to frozen produce, consuming smaller portions of meat products, using dried beans and lentils instead of canned or even trying alternative brands that may be more cost-effective.

Don’t Delay Large Purchases

Although this may sound counterintuitive, pricing of appliances and other household items is also increasing alarmingly. As such, you should not delay purchasing these items if you already have the funds set aside to pay for them – chances are that they could cost as much as 30% more in a few months’ time.

Work with a Reputable Financial Advisor

Another crucial step to take when protecting your retirement funds against inflation is to work closely with a reputable financial advisor. These specialists are trained to follow the markets, which allows them to make the appropriate decisions to ensure that your money can grow as much as possible. 

When searching for an investment advisor, ensure that they are suitably qualified, registered and experienced – failure to do so could result in disastrous consequences for your financial future. If you would like to find out more about securing your retirement savings against higher than average inflation rates, get in touch with our team today.

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spring break

Planning a Spring Break Vacation on a Limited Budget

If you’ve been considering taking a vacation with your family this spring, chances are that you’ve noticed just how much the cost of everything from gas to accommodation to meals has risen recently. However, this doesn’t always means that you’ll have to put your plans on hold – in fact, you can still enjoy a spring break vacation if you’re willing to make a few adjustments to your plans.

Rethink your Initially Planned Destination

While locations such as Florida, Orlando or even Cancun in Mexico are deemed as popular spring break destinations, it doesn’t mean that you have to visit one of them to have a great time. Not only will the more popular destinations be ridiculously crowded; pricing for everything from rooms to drinks and activity prices will most likely be through the roof as well. 

Instead, opt for a location that isn’t as popular with the regular spring break crowds and you’ll suddenly find that your trip will become a lot more affordable than you think.

Consider Driving to your Destination

Although it will take longer to reach your vacation spot if you’re driving, chances are that you’ll save a huge chunk of cash by doing so. In addition, you won’t have to cover the exorbitant cost of car rental at your destination either. 

If you decide to drive, you’ll also have to choose your destination accordingly – after all, you wouldn’t want to spend more than a day or two on the road there and back.

Find a Grocery Store Close to your Destination

One of the biggest expenses you’ll encounter when going on spring break vacation is the cost of meals. However, this can be drastically reduced if you’re willing to do a little of your own meal prep and purchase groceries instead of relying entirely on restaurant meals. Snacks can also be purchased this way for a fraction of the price of those being charged at hotel shops.

Find free Activities to Take Part in

Wherever possible, seek out free activities to do that are close to your chosen destination. For example, if you’ve got a great deal on a cruise, avoid visiting the casino and opt for one of the many free evening shows on offer instead. If you’re staying at a resort, be sure to check the property calendar or activity board to see if any shows or activities are available for free or low cost – many resorts also offer free movie nights or even trivia activities for guests.

Alternatively, you can take the family on a local hiking trail or even visit a local farmer’s market if you’re looking for something different to keep them occupied on your trip. 

With a little strategic planning, it is possible to enjoy an affordable spring break vacation with your family. If you would like to learn more about being able to save money each month and invest for your future, our qualified and experienced team of financial advisors will be more than happy to assist you.

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couch potato

Don’t Become a Couch Potato After Retirement

Just because you’ll be retiring from your daily job and commute, it doesn’t mean that you should spend the rest of your life sitting around doing nothing. In fact, research has confirmed that retirees who remain active will experience higher levels of satisfaction and better health than those who laze their days away in front of the TV or computer. 

If you’re looking for ways to keep busy or new activities to try after stopping work, the list below will help you get started:

Take a Hike

Spending time out in nature has been proven to be one of the best ways to de-stress and rejuvenate the body and soul. As such, this activity will make you feel better physically and emotionally. 

The good news is that it isn’t necessary to go on an overnight hike or multiple-day camping trip to enjoy these benefits – even a short hike of a few miles will be highly beneficial. It will also provide you with an opportunity to take a break from technology, which is something everyone needs from time to time.

Foster a Pet

Many retirees are hesitant to outright adopt a pet because they worry about what will happen if they’re no longer able to care for it. However, many animal shelters now offer the option of fostering a pet as well. This entails having the shelter or rescue organization cover the cost of the animal’s food and care, while the pet in question provides companionship.

Fostering a pet will help keep you physically active, especially if regular walking is required – which will benefit your health as well as that of the pet.

Join a Book Club

After retiring, it’s just as important to keep your mind active as your body. A 2016 study in the Social Science and Medicine Journal revealed that spending an hour or two reading each day can help increase a senior’s lifespan substantially as well – even more good reason to curl up on the couch with your favorite book at least a few times a week.

Learn a New Language

Learning a new language is an excellent way to ensure that your mind remains active after you’re no longer part of the workforce because it will help keep your memory and concentration skills sharp as you get older. A number of free and online options are now available for anyone who wants to learn new languages, such as Babbel and Duolingo.

Do Volunteer Work

This is by far one of the most popular ways for seniors to keep busy once they’re no longer working. Most volunteers report that getting actively involved in causes that are important to them provides a sense of fulfillment, which in turn helps make them happier. 

Keeping physically and mentally active during your golden years will not only help keep you fit and healthy; you’ll also be able to fill your days with a number of social activities that are enjoyable.

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grocery store prices

Are Rising Grocery Prices Destroying your Budget? Stretch your Meals with These Tips

Most grocery items have experienced steep increases in pricing over the past year or two, making it more difficult than ever for families to make ends meet when shopping for food – and in many cases, purchasing less food simply isn’t an option, especially for larger families. 

If you’ve been feeling the financial pinch each time you’ve been grocery shopping recently, these tips can help stretch the food you buy – which will in turn give your budget somewhat of a reprieve as well:

Keep Breakfast Cheap

Breakfast is a meal that can be kept quite simple, while still being filling and taking up the smallest part of your food budget. For instance, oatmeal, toast and eggs are among some of the cheapest foods available and they are all filling as well. Including these breakfast options will help slash your food budget substantially.

Stock Up on Low-cost Staples

Whole grains such as dried legumes; oats, rice, quinoa and millet remain inexpensive as well, despite price hikes on fresh foods and meat products. These can all be used as filler ingredients when preparing dishes containing meat, which will allow you to use less meat per meal. 

In cases where canned goods such as tuna, beans and other foods that your family eats are on sale at good prices, it’s a good idea to stock up on them – they can often be combined with the above-mentioned dry foods as well.

Freeze Leftovers Promptly

One of the most common contributors to food waste is leftover portions that get left to languish at the back of the refrigerator. Instead, these should be frozen as soon as they’re cool enough and labeled well. This will not only prevent food from being thrown away because it’s gone bad; having frozen leftovers on hand will allow you to grab a portion and reheat it for dinner on a busy night as well.

Get Into the Habit of Meal Planning

 Without a meal plan on hand, food will quickly get forgotten about – and end up being tossed. Sitting down and preparing a weekly meal plan will allow you to only purchase the items needed for those dishes you intend preparing that week. For further savings, consider planning meals around foods that are on sale each week.

Use Seasonal Produce

Although it may initially be difficult to change from your favorite fruit and veggies, focusing on using produce seasonally will shave hundreds of dollars from your grocery bill each year. Just one example is apples that will cost just a few dollars per bag during fall, and shoot up to as much as $10 per bag during summer.

Stretching ground beef with items such as lentils, rice or even quinoa will also go a long way in helping to shave the cost of your grocery bill. Implementing even one or two of these tips will see your food lasting a lot longer than usual as well. 

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