8 Common Things Older People Fail to Save for Before Retirement

If you want to enjoy a comfortable retirement, remember these things that so many others forget.
Updated May 1, 2024
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You might think you can retire early, but if you haven’t considered the items on this list, you may want to think again. When planning for retirement, you have to keep all extra expenses in mind.

Saving money to supplement Social Security, making investments, and contributing enough to your 401(k) might seem like difficult tasks already. But not accounting for these things can make your retirement even more difficult.

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Not working (even if you want to)

Pavel Losevsky/Adobe senior man in the building

As you near retirement, you might start to consider working part time to give your wallet a boost.

If you do plan to work during retirement to supplement your finances, you should still have a backup plan. You may become disabled, require extensive health care, or simply want to relax and enjoy your retired years. 

While continuing to work is a good option, saving enough money so you don’t have to is smart. You’ll have the money if you need it. And if you don’t, you’ll have it for other expenses.

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Dental care

denis_vermenko/Adobe mature woman touching mouth with hand with painful expression

It may come as a surprise, but basic Medicare does not cover dental expenses. This means you might have to pay full price for cleanings, fillings, extractions, and any other dental care needed.

Dental care is expensive and doesn’t go away even if you have no problems. Medicare doesn’t even cover dentures, so you’ll want to budget for paying out of your own pocket.

Health care

Prostock-studio/Adobe patient talking to doctor during appointment

Health problems commonly arise during the aging process. During retirement, you may discover new health problems or experience worsening conditions. 

And unfortunately, Medicare Parts A and B do not cover some expenses seniors face during retirement.

You may need to pay for eye exams, hearing aids, long-term care, and even annual physical exams. If you can’t afford them, your health may decline further, preventing you from fully enjoying retirement.

Home repair and maintenance

Andy Dean/Adobe Older couple in front of house

Some people may only budget for their mortgage and utility bills, but you should take other things into account when planning your retirement.

Homes need routine maintenance to prevent more costly repairs, and even the best-kept homes can face expensive problems. Inflation can also impact home costs. 

Utility bills will likely increase over time, as can the cost of lawn care, pest control, and other services.

Losing a spouse

mrmohock/Adobe senior man covering his face with his hands

Losing a spouse can result in unexpected income loss. To effectively plan for retirement, you should ensure you have enough funds in the event you lose a spouse or they become unable to work.

Unmarried partners may not receive Social Security survivor’s benefits if a loved one passes away. If your partner received retirement benefits, you may lose that income coming into the household.

Forced early retirement

peopleimages.com/Adobe elderly couple in retirement looking at budget

You might plan to retire at your full retirement age or perhaps delay it until age 70, but things can happen that may upset your plans. You could find yourself in a position that requires you to retire early.

Retiring early results in lower Social Security benefits (if you choose to take it), may prevent you from contributing more to your 401(k), and forces you to make your savings last longer. 

The more years you spend in retirement, the more money you’ll need, and having to leave the workforce early can prevent you from saving.

Caring for loved ones

pressmaster/Adobe taking care of husband

Not all people expect to care for a loved one later in life, but it happens. You may need to leave your job early or reduce your hours to care for a spouse or parent.

Even if you choose to hire someone else to care for your loved one or they move to a retirement community, you might still need to pay for these services. 

It’s a good idea to factor in these costs so your loved ones can receive the care they need without compromising your financial security.

Stock market dips

Who is Danny/Adobe business graph with arrows tending downwards

Investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds can help prepare you for retirement, but a down market can interfere with your plans.

You can better plan for changing stock market conditions by diversifying your portfolio and assessing it often. Investing early could also help you meet your financial goals. 

You should evaluate your investment portfolio regularly, even after you retire.

Bottom line

Zamrznuti tonovi/Adobe senior couple checking their finances

If you include these things in your retirement plan, you stand a better chance of living out your retirement comfortably. 

These commonly forgotten scenarios can quickly eat up your money, leaving you without enough to maintain living costs. Saving and preparing for these instances helps but doesn’t guarantee a financially secure retirement.

There are many ways seniors waste money. And making the money you saved last as long as possible is half the battle.

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Author Details

Katelyn Washington Katelyn Washington is a writer with a passion for finance and business. She put herself through business school as a single mother of three and has had pieces commissioned by national magazines. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and editing manuscripts for indie authors.

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