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Making the Most Out of Your Retirement on a Budget

An old man sits on the stairs and surfs social networks

Retirement is the perfect time to expand your horizons and explore your passions. Without the burden of work, you’re free to explore your own passions and hobbies like writing, painting, travel, or woodworking.

A well-planned budget can help your retirement dreams come true. Financial security in retirement gives you the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it.

Some forward planning can help you save a few dollars, too. This will free up funds for exciting adventures in retirement like travel, opening your own workshop, or moving to a new state.


Retirement is a time for travel and exploration. You’ve worked hard and can reap the rewards of all that modern life has to offer. However, some destinations can be pricey. For example, a vacation in London will set you back an average of $370 per day — that’s before accounting for expenses like flights and international travel.

If you have a passion for travel but want to see the world on a budget, consider low-cost destinations like:

  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Cartagena, Colombia
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Granada, Spain

Vacationing in these destinations can cost under $1,000. Destinations like Lisbon and Granada have great travel links, too, meaning you can hop on a train and be in a new country within hours.

If you’re tech-savvy, you may want to pursue a new form of travel: virtual tourism. Virtual tourism in the metaverse is a great way to see the world from the comfort of your own home. You can even visit Pompeii of the past using VR goggles or go on personalized, immersive tours of the Vatican. You’ll need to buy or rent a headset first, but the outlay is minimal compared to flights, hotels, and currency conversion.

Moving Home

Retirement is an invitation to embrace a new, slower way of life. You don’t have to hustle at all hours of the day and you probably don’t need to take care of energetic young children. This may mean that your family home starts to feel a little too large for your current needs. There’s nothing wrong with downsizing your home and doing so can free up some capital to pursue your interests.

Make a clear moving budget before you decide to downsize your home. Start decluttering early and donate items you no longer want to local charities. Create a moving budget during this time and be sure to list services like movers, storage fees, and travel costs.

Assess the costs and challenges associated with a smaller space before you move in. It may cost less to run a smaller home, but what about unexpected costs like travel to see family and access to affordable healthcare providers? A smaller home should help you save for healthcare in retirement; it shouldn’t be a burden that derails your financial plan. Look for local community events, too, as you’ll want to meet new people and create a connection before you move.

Community Events

You may not have had time to connect with your community during your career. However, as a retiree, your contribution to the community can make a meaningful difference to those around you. Connecting with community events is a budget-friendly way to meet new people and rediscover your purpose, too.

If your community is lacking engaging events, consider starting a community garden. Community gardens are ideal for retirees as you can meet in a safe space while enjoying the health benefits of being outside. Grow plants that are suited to your climate and USDA plant hardiness zone. If you’re new to growing plants, lean on your neighbors and allow them to show you the ropes.

If you don’t have a keen green thumb, consider joining a book club in your area. Book clubs support your brain health and help you make new friends. You’ll encounter some new opinions while reading popular titles today. This will help you step out of your comfort zone and gain new knowledge about the world around you. 

Understand Your Income

Travel and moving are only possible if you understand your income. Before you book flights or start a community garden, you need to know how much retirement income you will earn later in life.

Most estimates suggest that you need to earn 80% of your pre-retirement income after your retirement. Most people receive retirement income from three sources:

  • Social Security retirement benefits
  • Defined-benefit pension plans
  • Retirement savings

These sources should give you a personal bottom line to work with. Work with a financial advisor to help close the retirement income gap and choose between 401(k) plans. Forward planning can help you live a fulfilling life even as you enter your later years.


Retirement can be surprisingly costly. However, with a clear financial plan, you can still see the world and pursue new hobbies. Consider cost-effective options like virtual tourism and community engagement events. Alternatively, you can start low-cost book clubs or downsize to free up some capital for use in later life.

Written By

Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman writes about people, aging, wellness, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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