10 Unexpected Retirement Costs to Think About

Written by Stephanie Lynch

Even if you think you’re the most prepared retiree on the planet, there will still be those pesky unexpected costs that add up over time and may put a burden on your budget.

According to the AARP, retirees fear outliving their savings more than they do death.  Since you don’t want to be this statistic, here are 10 unexpected costs you may have never thought of and may want to prepare for just in case it does happen:

1. Divorce

Even if you feel you’re happily married, you do realize you’re going to be with your spouse a lot more often than you were before.  This could be a good thing, or it could be a disaster waiting to happen.

If you think about it, you probably worked a 9-5 job, leaving you with very little time to spend quality time with your loved one.  While less than 3% of retirees divorce, it’s a situation that could eat up a lot of your assets, especially if you don’t have a prenup.

2. Fraud

Fraud is rampant on the Internet, and if you use it to purchase items, complete bank transactions or send money to friends, you may want to think about the chances of a hacker and/or virus attacking your computer.  Sure, while banks are pretty good at spotting scams and preventing you from sending cash, they can’t do much if you send your money overseas to someone who swindled you.  While the chances are slim, scams have cost some retirees tens of thousands of dollars.  Remember fraud happens outside of the Internet as well, so it’s always best to do your due diligence before sending your money to any organization.

3. Poor Investments

Whether it’s trusting the wrong person or making the wrong investment decision, you’re going to want to take a close look at where your money is invested.  Do you have your money invested in bonds?  CDs? Or is it a tech company that started up yesterday?  While it’s okay to risk your money in your 20s, it isn’t okay to roll the investment dice when you are on the brink of 70 or 80.  Poor investments could easily cost you 10 to 30% of your nest egg.

4. Death of a spouse

This is a sad one, but it can easily happen to anyone in retirement.  Whether your spouse was working a part-time job, had a pension or any sort of other income, you can count on this being affected if your spouse were to pass away.  With this, however, it can be avoided ahead of time if you prepare for this worst case scenario.  For example, if your spouse were to have a pension, what portion would you get?  What about social security?  How would that change?  Be sure to know this so you know how your budget is going to change.

5. Family emergencies

If you have grown kids, what happens if a family emergency were to happen?  Would you be willing to help financially?  For example, let’s say they lost their car because it needed a new engine, and without a new one, they can’t make it to their jobs.  There could be some situations such as these that could potentially cost your budget thousands of dollars.

6. Drop in home value

While we can’t predict the future, what happens if your home is worth 25% less than what it is today?  If you plan on downgrading in the future and taking some of that equity, you may be hurting if your value isn’t what you think it will be worth in the future.

7. Dental expenses

Sure, you will be covered by Medicare and a supplemental insurance if you so choose, but what happens if you don’t have any dental insurance?  The average root canal can cost you a few thousand dollars, while a few cleanings and a new crown can cost close to that figure as well.  We all know our teeth won’t get any better as we age, so it’s best to budget for those unexpected dental bills.

8. Home repairs

As your home ages, it’s going to increase the chances of replacing big name items such as the roof, air conditioner, water heater and if it’s old enough – maybe the plumbing and electrical.  Regardless of how old your home is, you will want to make sure you have a budget set aside to be prepared to pay for a $6,000 new roof or $1,200 water heater.

9. Expect tax changes

We can’t assume the tax code will stay the same forever; in fact, if we look at that past, we can only assume it won’t.  If any of your investments are affected by taxes, what happen if these taxes increased 5, 10 or 20%?  Would it hurt your budget?  For example, qualified dividends aren’t taxed for the first $74,900 if you’re married filing jointly.  What happens if the government wants to tax these dividends like income?

10. Unexpected travel

While you may plan on traveling throughout retirement, you have to think about unexpected travel such as weddings, a funeral or some event that you don’t want to miss.   As you know, an airline ticket, hotel room and rental car can easily cost you $2,000.

Retirement can often last you 30 years or more, and with this long journey will come this unexpected costs.  As long as you make room in your budget for these surprising costs, there’s no reason you have to toss and turn thinking about how the bill will be paid.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.