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Navigate retirement on a fixed income like a pro

Tips and tricks to try

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when it comes to retirement?

Is it going on the trips you’ve always dreamed of? Finding a part-time job? Spending every day on the golf course? Or downsizing your current home? The reality is, the perfect retirement differs for everyone.

But, here’s one thing each retiree will likely have in common: adjusting to a fixed income. Once you retire, your income will look different than in your working years — even if you have built up a comfortable retirement fund. Any retiree can find it difficult to afford unexpected expenses, like medical bills, house repairs, or a car accident. That’s why it’s so important to carefully manage expenses to ensure you enjoy retirement worry-free.

How much fixed income do I need to live within my means for retirement?

You’ve likely heard numbers like $1 million to $1.5 million External Site, or 10 to 12 times your current income. Did you just fill up with a sense of panic or fear?

According to a Gallup interview with a survey group of 65–80 year olds, it was determined that 23 percent felt uncomfortable with their retirement income External Site.

The truth? There is no magic number — but there are some questions you can ask yourself to determine a number that works best for you and your retirement plans.

  • How much are my living costs?
  • Will my nest egg last as long as I will?
  • Will my savings generate enough cash?
  • What if I haven’t saved enough?

If you fall into the 23 percent who worry about retirement income, it becomes a game of give and take. In order to travel more, you may need to move from your current home to an apartment. Or, if you want to have a bit of extra spending money, consider a part-time job External Site that you’re passionate about.

Five ways to cut back on expenses during retirement

  1. Downsize your home. Maintaining a home can be one of the biggest unplanned expenses. Whether you have an older or newer home, there is still opportunity for something to go wrong, which can leave you with a hefty bill. Moving into an apartment can help you live, mainly, maintenance-free and also make your monthly budget more predictable.
  2. Sell a vehicle or go car-less. It may be time to weigh the pros and cons of owning a car. If it’s an absolute need, keep! If you can find other ways to get from point A to point B (e.g., city bus pass, train, car shares, etc.) selling a vehicle External Site can give you a bit of a cushion in your bank account.
  3. Avoid retirement penalties. Did you know there are penalties External Site if you withdraw money from your retirement account too soon (or too late)? Not to mention, you may also face a reduction in benefits when you sign up late for Social Security, or a lifelong premium penalty for enrolling late in Medicare.
  4. Minimize health care costs. A 2019 Gallup poll External Site found that U.S. seniors have great anxiety over health care costs. At Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we work hard to keep premiums stable year after year and avoid rate hikes like other companies. In fact, some Medicare supplement carriers have raised premiums as high as 12 percent in a single year.
    At Wellmark, our average rate increase over the last five years has been about 2 percent for our most popular plans. In addition to good Medicare coverage Opens New Window, adopting healthy habits like eating nutritious meals, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly and spending time with family and friends can improve your health and well-being. Need some inspiration? Check out these stories about Wellmark members living retirement to the fullest!
  5. Take advantage of senior discounts. One of the many perks of growing older? Discounts at some of your favorite local spots — the movies, museums, restaurants and so much more.
    • PSST—did you know as a Wellmark member, you have access to Blue365? It’s a free portal for deals and discounts External Site on health and wellness brands to help you stay engaged in a healthy lifestyle. Categories include apparel and footwear, gym memberships, hearing and vision, home and family, nutrition, personal care, and travel.

We want to hear from you!

Do you have advice on how to stay “financially-fit” during your retirement? Send us your favorite tips and tricks by emailing us at Send Email. We may feature your advice in a future Blue story.

Blue365® is a discount program available to members who have medical coverage with Wellmark. This is NOT insurance. Blue365® is a registered mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

This is a solicitation of insurance.

MedicareBlue SupplementSM plans are specific to Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and can only be purchased by Iowa and South Dakota residents. Enrollment and coverage in a MedicareBlue Supplement insurance plan is with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. MedicareBlue Supplement insurance plans and the Blue365® member discount program are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.