How bad is it to carry debt in retirement

There’s no denying that the baby boom generation has left a lasting impact on the world. This generation has spent the last several decades as the leaders of almost every industry, and continue to play major roles in politics, entertainment, science, agriculture, medicine and pretty much any other market you can think of. But as this decade rolls on, millions of boomers are getting ready for retirement. Whether you can’t wait to hang up your work clothes and sail off into the sunset or you feel like they’ll have to drag you away from your work kicking and screaming, there’s no stopping Father Time. So now you’ve got to focus on how the rest of your life will play out, and you obviously want it to be as comfortable as possible. As you enter retirement money becomes a larger issue, and keeping expenses down is a crucial step. You’ve got to get rid of debt to make sure that the money you do have coming in isn’t used up without contributing to your life. Here are a few ideas to help boomers prevent carrying debt into retirement.

First of all, you have to get rid of any credit card debt. This is something that can take some serious time, depending on the size of your debts. So you should look to put together a plan several years before retirement to make sure it is possible. Start out by setting a deadline for your credit cards to be paid off, and then come up with a monthly payment that gets it done. It will be more than worth it to sacrifice a few creature comforts now if it insures you don’t enter retirement with credit card debt hanging over your head.

If you’re going to have to get a new car soon, you should consider renting instead of buying. As you get closer to retirement, buying a car makes less and less sense. Why take on the large purchase price or significant monthly financing payments just to end up with a vehicle you are responsible for repairing? A better bet is to go with a lease. The monthly payment and money you have to put down are both lower, and you don’t have to worry about repairs. You get to drive a safe, new car every two or three years, and if you end up moving or your lifestyle changes you can just let your lease run out and walk away.

Now you’ve got to turn your attention to your mortgage. You’ve spent your whole life working in order to end up with that home, which is also your investment. But if you’re still making mortgage payments it’s time to get that handled. Once you get closer to retirement, the balance changes. It will be worth it to liquidate some investments if it helps you pay off your debts. Your living expenses will be reduced significantly, leaving you with more money to reinvest later. If you’ve carried a life insurance policy to protect children that are now grown and working themselves, you can probably cash that in without worry. Hopefully you’ve got some additional investment set aside you can pull from, and you don’t have to resort to fast cash loans that don’t solve the problem. But do whatever you must to get that mortgage paid off. Otherwise you could find retirement a bit more uncomfortable than you would like.


Jenni Proctor

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