As detailed in the first part of this series, today’s early retirees and retirees face several financial challenges in addition to worrying about the world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. To meet these challenges, we must take many small, medium, and large steps in our lives that will improve our finances while helping to improve our communities and future generations.
With that in mind, let’s look at a dozen win-win strategies and tips on how we can save money in our retirement years while leaving our grandchildren a better planet.
Read: Climate change is a retirement issue – how to turn worry into action
Follow Your Money: Where You Live
Many people stay where they are when they retire and do not reconsider their life situation. That said, this three- or four-bedroom house in a lawned suburb might have been a good place to raise family or commute into town, but it might not be the best choice for retirement living. And if you need to significantly reduce your living expenses, housing costs are a good place to start looking for savings, as they’re the biggest expense for most retirees.
Green living tip no. 1: Think about where you will live when you retire. The idyllic retirement home on the beach, in the desert, or in the mountains may not have the same appeal as it did in the past. Heat, fire or flooding caused by extreme weather events in these environments can wreak havoc on a retirement lifestyle. If you live in an area subject to extreme weather conditions, your wallet could be hit by significantly increased home insurance premiums.
If you decide these areas are not for you, you can live year-round in an area that is protected from wildfires, flooding and extreme temperatures and is just Vacation at your favorite beach, in the mountains, or in the desert community.
If you are retired and currently living in a location that is prone to fire, flooding or excessive temperatures, you should consider moving to a safer location that is more forgiving of the elderly with limited mobility. Just don’t wait until you’re too frail to take such a step.
Read: A climate-proof retirement? Ask the tough questions about real estate and property insurance
Green Home Tip #2: Downsize your home. A smaller home saves on energy bills as well as property taxes and maintenance. Terraced houses, condominiums and apartments are particularly energy-efficient compared to the large single-family houses on the outskirts. You also have less space to clean and set up, saving time and money. Downsizing may provide other benefits such as: B. simplifying your life and freeing up assets to invest as retirement income.
Green Home Tip #3: Move close to shops, restaurants and social amenities of daily life, if possible. It’s a quick and easy way to get your food, entertainment and enrichment, saving you time and money while reducing your energy consumption.
Green Home Tip #4: Air-condition your home. To reduce your electricity and heating bills, you should insulate your walls and windows. You might also consider adding solar panels if they are practical for your area. If you live in an area prone to drought, consider lowering your water bill by installing a gray water system, water catchment, or drip irrigation. The return on your investment from reduced utility bills can compare favorably to returns on investments, especially as we enter a period of high inflation.
Green Home Tip #5: Refresh your lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping that uses less water, gas for mowing, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides. You save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
Green Home Tip #6: Grow your own fruit and veg. You eat less expensive, fresher and tastier food compared to what you can buy at the supermarket and you reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating packaging and transport costs.
You don’t have to live on a farm for this to work for you. For example, a family in Pasadena, California, harvests three tons of organic food every year from their ordinary one-tenth-acre suburban home. While most people might not want to grow that much, you might have an empty corner in your yard that could easily accommodate a vegetable garden or your favorite fruit tree.
Added bonuses are that you get exercise too, so improve your health, and you could potentially create a magnet for little grandkids.
Now let’s look at six more tips for being more environmentally responsible with your savings and your life.
Follow your money: your daily expenses
If you look beyond your home, you may be able to take many steps in your daily life that can be win-win strategies.
Green living tip no. 1: Use your car less by walking or cycling to as many places as possible, and you’ll reduce your gas, insurance, and car maintenance costs. Not only do you save money on transportation, but you also get exercise that improves your health.
Here’s a related tip: take public transportation whenever possible. Because we have more time on our hands, you don’t have to be in such a hurry to get where you want to go. You might even enjoy life more, letting others do the driving and meeting people along the way.
Green living tip no. 2: If you have to work because you don’t have the financial resources to fully retire, find work close to home or on public transport. Better yet, try finding remote work. Studies show that reducing the time you spend commuting can contribute to your enjoyment of life.
Green living tip no. 3: Eat less meat. Meat plants use a lot of water and generate significant greenhouse gases and toxic pollution. Eating more plant-based food is not only good for the environment as it uses far fewer resources, it is also more cost-effective and easy on your weekly budget. It’s also healthier for us, which has the potential to lower your medical bills.
Green living tip #4. Buy your veggies and fruit at local farmers markets. Locally grown products use less energy for transport and packaging compared to many products you find in supermarkets. You could move even more while walking through the market and have fun getting to know the suppliers.
Green Living Tip No. 5: Buy less new goods by joining a freecycle or stuff swap club – they are a growing trend on social media. You can also consider buying your clothes at thrift or consignment stores. It’s a great way to make new friends and not just buy the “same” new stuff.
Green living tip no. 6: buy a hybrid or electric car, when you need to replace a car. These cars can help you save money on gas bills and significantly reduce the impact on climate change.
Following your money can be fulfilling
We have taken many of these steps and we find that it is not a sacrifice. In fact, our lives have been enriched, not diminished. We don’t say this to brag or preach or to imply that we’re perfect – we’re not. We’re always looking for new ways to save the money we spend on energy and new things.
Just to point out: improving our communities and making ends meet in retirement can be good for your wallet as well as your wallet and for your satisfaction in life. We can still have a good life if we commit to the importance of improving our finances and leaving a better world for our grandchildren.
Of course, there are many other saving tips that don’t harm the environment, just as there are many ways to help the environment without saving money. We’ve just focused on win-win strategies here to help you with both goals.
Once you get started, you might be inspired to think of other ways you can help the environment and your own health and financial security. Be sure to influence others by sharing your actions with family and friends – be the ripple in the pond. Let’s make our retirement work and Leave the world a better place for future generations.
Steve Vernon, FSA, is an actuary who conducts independent research on the toughest retirement decisions. He is the author of six books on retirement planning and has led hundreds of retirement planning workshops. He recently completed nine years as a retirement strategy consultant for the Stanford Center on Longevity.
Harry R. Moody, Ph.D., is a retired AARP Vice President of Academic Affairs. He is a visiting faculty in the Creative Longevity and Wisdom Program at Fielding Graduate University.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/12-ways-to-make-your-retirement-better-for-the-planet-11656694357?rss=1&siteid=rss 12 ways to make your retirement better for the planet