The Hidden Costs of Aging: 15 Expenses To Prepare For

Perhaps you dream of a retirement spent enjoying cruises, golf days, luxury travel, and a comfortable financial lifestyle. However, often, the hidden costs of aging can stump our plans.

The trick to a happy and financially stable retirement is to prepare for hidden costs so there are fewer surprises later when you’re relying on your retirement fund.

We have chosen 15 hidden expenses that seniors tell us were unexpected and that they wish they had known about before retirement.

1. Outdoor Maintenance

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If you live on a property with a garden, backyard, or drive, outdoor maintenance like mowing lawns, trimming edges, tidying bushes and plants, pulling weeds, and hedge cutting can be tricky as you age.

Depending on the size of your lot, it could cost a few hundred dollars, and outside help will cost from $25 to $75 per hour. It’s worth checking if local volunteer services, such as a senior center, exist.

2. Home Safety and Security

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Many seniors, especially those living alone, worry about home safety and security. If you’re less physically able, you may need a stair lift, shower handrails, or wheelchair access.

Home security systems start at about $15, but these small costs can add up. Other helpful safety gadgets are medical alert devices, which cost about $30 monthly but provide peace of mind in case of a fall.

3. Meal Prep Assistance

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Traveling to the store and preparing healthy meals at home can become more challenging for seniors. Thankfully, organizations such as Meals on Wheels exist in most communities in the United States and worldwide.

Another alternative is to take advantage of grocery delivery services. This may be more costly, with the delivery fees. Additionally, some companies can deliver ready-cooked, pre-packaged healthy food. However, these services can be expensive.

4. Death Of A Spouse

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Losing a spouse is a significant emotional shock, and unfortunately, I speak from experience. We hadn’t prepared for the financial implications of one of us departing from life, and navigating the lack of financial structure added to the stress of my loss.

It’s essential to tackle this subject together before it’s too late. Prepare a financial plan with an up-to-date will, life insurance, budget for funeral costs, and organize a power of attorney.

5. A Change in Transportation

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Reduced mobility may mean you can no longer drive a car. That means it becomes harder to socialize and get out as much as you used to, leading to feelings of depression and isolation.

Maintaining physical and mental activity by socializing is essential for health and well-being, so research public transportation, such as a bus service, which is often low-cost.

6. Travel Plans

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One of the best things about retirement is having more time to pursue your bucket list, including travel. Start putting aside a part of your budget for travel plans. Your friends or children may move abroad. Traveling and seeing your loved ones regularly without worrying about the costs would be fantastic.

In addition to planned travel, it’s essential to budget for unexpected costs, such as traveling to see your grandchildren get married or graduate.

7. Elderly Parents

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As our parents age, they often need more care. That may mean moving in with you or hiring a carer so your parents can continue living in their home. The most expensive scenario is if a parent needs to move into a nursing home.

Discuss this potential situation with your parents. Talk over their financial standing and ask if they will assign a power of attorney so you can manage their affairs if they become infirm.

8. Helping Your Adult Children

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Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for adult children to experience the occasional financial crisis. Your son or daughter may lose their job, divorce, become ill, or get into debt.

As much as you love your children, the bank of mom and dad can quickly become a money pit. Be clear about whether you expect your children to repay a loan. If so, create a written agreement outlining when you wish them to repay the money.

9. Downsizing Your Home

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You may not need as much space after the children have flown the nest. Perhaps you lose a spouse. As much as you have all the beautiful memories in the house, managing the maintenance costs of a property can become expensive.

Prepare a budget for moving to a smaller home, including real estate fees, taxes, removal costs, and unexpected expenses.

10. Mobility Aids

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As you head into your senior years, you may notice a decline in mobility. For instance, challenges with strength and balance can lead to falls. These physical issues can cause considerable stress.

You may not need a wheelchair, but consider the costs of installing mobility aids in the home, like a sit-down shower or a bath with a door so you don’t have to step into it. Steep steps may need handrails, and a stairlift can be expensive if stairs are tricky.

11. Increased Leisure Activities

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If you’re newly retired, the world of leisure possibilities opens up. Perhaps you want to play golf, join a gym, or start a new hobby. All of these things can be fun but costly.

Considering that retirement income is often a fixed sum unless you have multiple investments, adding exciting new leisure activities can eat into your funds.

The best way to enjoy multiple retirement activities is to budget long before you plan to retire.

12. Healthcare Challenges

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As we get older, we may experience health issues such as debilitating heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and diabetes. If you maintain good health into your 50s and 60s, it’s essential to continue focusing on caring for your body and mind.

Regular daily exercise and eating a healthy diet can help prevent some illnesses. It’s good to reduce alcohol consumption and quit smoking. Maintaining good health can minimize the costs of healthcare for seniors.

13. Long-Term Care

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Long-term care is shockingly expensive. You could face paying an annual six-figure sum for a private room in a nursing home. Hiring a home care aide could be over $50k annually if you want to remain in your home.

One option to help avoid these high costs is to purchase long-term care insurance. Although the premiums might seem expensive, a policy could save you money later.

14. Unexpected Housing Costs

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Suppose you suddenly need a new roof on your home, or it needs new plumbing or wiring; these costs can be surprisingly high and eat into your retirement fund.

Even if your home is mortgage-free, it’s advisable to set aside up to 2% of the property’s value to budget for unexpected repair costs. Another expense could be adding a walk-in shower, wheelchair access, or other mobility improvements.

15. Taxes

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Unless you’ve worked in the financial industry, you may not fully understand tax requirements. That’s a hidden cost that could catch you out in retirement.

Arrange an appointment with a financial advisor who can guide you on your financial situation and formulate a plan to minimize tax requirements legally.

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