People hate budgeting. Most of the time, it's a struggle to write down what we spend. Those who have graduated to have more discretionary income (because the kids have now moved out) don't want to revert back to budgeting. After all, you might have spent all of your younger years being very aware of every dime. Tracking spending can feel like going backward.
Budgeting for retirement is invaluable too, and it can be easier than you think.
The starting point for preparing for your retirement is to get in touch with spending. First, you want to understand how you are living currently. Then, compare that to how you'd like to be living in the future.
It can be sort of like working with a fitness trainer. They sometimes want you to write down everything you put in your mouth. The best trainers have you do it every so often, not every day forever. Consider budgeting in that regard. Write down everything you spend for a period.
Budgeting could be viewed as planning to spend rather than a constrictive torture device! Planning to spend your money makes spending it feel better.
It can help to have two columns. The first column is for your current lifestyle. The second column is for your retired lifestyle. You probably will have different eating and driving expenses, for example. This exercise can give you a mental picture of what's to come. It can also take the dreaded pressure off because you've got it written down on paper!
And, just as any good fitness trainer wouldn’t have you do the exercise every day in a way that isn't practical, so too, writing down your budget only every once in a while can be easy. Let the budget serve you and your plan, not the other way around. If you need guidance on this essential first step for retirement income planning, we've created a budget sheet for you to use. You can get that retirement spending worksheet here.
Don’t forget to include Christmas and birthday expenses!