If your employer offers retirement savings plans – take advantage of them – they are taken out of your pay before taxes – and the savings will earn interest, and you won’t be taxed until you – usually in retirement – take the distributions. And, believe me, in retirement, most of us have a lower income – ergo – lower tax ratio. Win-win – you saved, let it gain interest, and the taxes will be less.

If your employer offers a matching pay – take full advantage of it! Contribute as much as is allowed. Same scenario as above paragraph, plus you double your savings!

Once you have a plan established, don’t borrow on it! You’ll find it’s almost impossible to replace the money you have already saved – and you’ll be paying back interest to boot!

Plus you will be taxed twice – when it was earned and again when you withdraw it at retirement.

used 12 downhill street, houses on hill copyKeep your eyes open for Penalties! If you take distributions before a certain age, those withdrawals may have penalties! So, try to wait to retire. Hopefully to the age when Medicare takes over – you’ll find health insurance can be a huge expense on your own.  Now, assuming you’re a bit nearer that golden year of retirement, and have already put the above plans into action, here are a few things to ruminate:

Your retirement does not only involve yourself. Your spouse or partner is going to take that ride with you. Sit down and have many discussions about your hopes, your expectations, your desires you have for the future years. Dick and I have always found a lot of conversation comes easily while driving and relaxing – find your comfortable setting and share.

Figure out just where your income is going to come from and how much you can plan on receiving – here, a financial advisor may come in handy. Most banks have on for free, but we’ve found you can get a lot of information by just getting out pencil and paper and figure! There are charts, etc, on the internet that may help.

By now you should have a budget figured out – see what expenses you can cut down, where you will be able to save. Use coupons and take full advantage of sales. You’ll probably find that during retirement, you’ll have more time than money, so make a game of coupons… and don’t forget to always ask for the good old “senior discount”! Dick and I would feel really bad if we were to pay full price for anything anymore!

Just for the fun of it – go though last year’s financial records, and find out just what you actually spent for the year, and see where you can cut down. And, even if you have unlimited funds, you should feel very proud not to just waste money. And what a wonderful lesson to pass on to your children.

Now, you should be in full retirement mode – but – woops – what happens a little later…when the car needs a major repair, the roof starts to leak or the plumbing gives up the ghost and needs a major rework – or maybe your washer just stops in the middle of the spin cycle, never to spin again? All those savings you’ve been able to put away will be a life saver. Expenses don’t stop just because you retire, and hopefully, you’ll outlive your roof and your car!  But, like the Boy Scouts – be prepared!

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  1. Lizzz

    February 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Hi Barbie,
    The retirement time is coming soon! I will be visiting Mexico in the near future to SCOPE things out. Where in your opinion would be a good homebase? I will be flying into Guadalajara. I am thinking of staying in Tlaquepaque (not sure of the spelling). I also have some friends in Tepic, that I will visit for a few days but I will not be staying long. Do you suggest renting a car or do you think the Bus service is good enough?
    Thank you so much for all your information, I have been following your site for several years.
    Your friend in Atlanta, Lizzz

  2. Barbie


    February 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Lizzz, Why don’t you try a few days in Tepic – that way you can hit Mazatlan, Guadalajara and Ajijic area, and maybe even Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, tho that’s a long distance. A car gives you so much more freedom – just stay on the toll roads all you can. I’m betting your friends in Tepic will probably be talking you into retiring there! Best to you, Barbie

  3. Linda

    January 7, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    I’m wondering what would be a good place to live in Mexico. I’m going to be in Mexico in April. I’ll only be able to stay for 6 mos. until I can get permanent citizenship. I was thinking of Ajijic area. I’m on disability and need to find an inexpensive apartment. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you,


  4. Barbie


    January 23, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    I have so much info here on Ajijic area – check what I’ve already written – you’ll feel pretty confident, I think! Best to you, Barbie

  5. Linda

    January 24, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Thank you for your response Barbie. I will go back into the archives and check it out.
    Sincerely, Linda T.

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