10 Surprising Ways Your Life Stays the Same After Retirement

There are many ways your life can change when you retire, but you might be shocked to find out there are some things that stay the same.
Updated April 9, 2024
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When start to plan your retirement, you may think of drastic changes to the way you live life every day.

But you may be surprised to discover some things that don’t change when you stop working. Bills still need to get paid, and you may still need to make extra money or find something to do if you find you have a lot of time on your hands.

So before you brace for drastic changes in your post-work life, but here are some things that may follow you from being employed to being retired.

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You still have to pay for insurance

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Insurance costs could be an expensive line item on your retirement budget, but you’ll be thankful you have insurance if you need it later on.

You are required to have a supplemental health insurance or Medigap policy to help cover costs for your Medicare. And consider adding long-term care insurance for items like nursing homes or at-home care as you get older.

You still have to pay home costs

220 Selfmade studio/Adobe old man on sofa using tablet

Unfortunately, your mortgage doesn’t disappear when you retire. Factor in your monthly mortgage expense when calculating how much you’ll need each month when you retire.

You also want to remember monthly expenses like utilities, insurance, homeowners’ association fees, or lawn care and snow removal. And it’s also a good idea to factor in one-time costs like a new roof or emergency appliance repairs.

You still have to watch your 401(k)

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You have diligently put money into your 401(k) or an IRA during your working years and watched it grow in order to prepare you for the day you would stop working. But you can’t just set it and forget it.

Instead, spend some time on a regular basis keeping track of your investments. You may want to keep a closer eye on your portfolio during volatile times, when the market swings up or down.

You may also want to consider the risk profile of your investments as you age, moving money out of stocks and into bonds. If there are big stock market declines, you won’t have decades to make up for market losses.

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You still might work

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It’s possible that you may have underestimated your monthly costs during retirement, which might lead you to go back to work. It’s a good idea to determine this when planning your retirement budget so you can work longer if you need to.

You also may want to go back to work. A job can give additional structure to your day if you find you’re bored or constantly looking for something to do in your post-work life. And a job after you retire is a great way to supplement Social Security.

If you do choose to work, be sure you understand the Social Security rules about how much you can earn if you haven’t reached full retirement age.

You still have to pay taxes

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Taxes are inevitable, so remember to factor them in when you’re creating an estimated budget for your retirement years.

In addition to property taxes on a home you live in, also consider taxes you may have to pay when you withdraw money from your 401(k) and other investments.

You also will want to find out about the laws in your state regarding taxes on things like Social Security or a pension if you have one.

You still have to adjust for the cost of living

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Where you live can have a big effect on how much money you spend in retirement. If you want to move to a city or continue to live in a city with a high cost of living, that should be factored into your retirement.

Remember that cost of living covers everyday expenses like groceries as well as big-ticket items like nursing homes or end-of-life care.

You still want to spend time with family

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Retirement may be a great way to spend more time with your kids and grandkids or visit siblings and other family members.

Or you may just want to go out to dinner more often or attend events with your spouse. The costs associated with spending time with your family are the same before and after retirement, so consider family entertainment as part of your expenses.

You still have big-ticket expenses

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Do you take a big vacation each year? Or do you expect to buy a new car in the next few years? These big-ticket items can take a big bite out of your budget. Instead, you may want to think about vacationing on a budget or settling for a more affordable car than your dream retirement vehicle.

You still need an emergency fund

Krakenimages.com/Adobe women calculating home funds

Emergencies don’t end just because you stopped working. If you funded an emergency account while you were still employed, don’t dip into it for everyday retirement expenses.

You don’t know when you may have an emergency home repair, an accident, or an unexpected medical bill that needs to be covered. If you have an emergency fund, you won’t have to touch your retirement savings to cover those types of bills.

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You still need to save money

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Just because you’re done earning money doesn’t mean you should stop saving money. There are still ways to bring in extra cash without a side hustle or selling some of your possessions as you downsize.

You may also want to consider other investments like real estate that can help you earn extra passive income after you retire.

Remember that you can always find ways to save cash even if you’re no longer bringing in a steady paycheck, and every little bit can help.

Bottom line

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One of the best things to do regardless of whether you’re working or retired is to create a budget to help you eliminate money stress and organize your expenses and income.

And remember to keep an eye on managing your investments to support you through your retirement.

FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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