How to Make Your Retirement Savings Last 20 Years

An older man wearing suspenders and headphones smiling for a selfie

You spent your entire adult life saving and planning for retirement. Now that the milestone is here, how can you make your savings last? As long as you adhere to a few simple financial principles, you’ll enjoy your golden years without the fear of draining your accounts.

Create a Fixed-Income Budget

Now that you’ve hit retirement, it’s time to update your budget. Calculate the fixed income that you receive from investments, pensions, Social Security, and other sources of retirement savings. This makes it easy to predict exactly what you have to spend every week, month, and year.

Personal financial experts recommend withdrawing no more than 5% of your total savings during the first year of retirement. If you can cut back on expenses to withdraw no more than 3% from your retirement savings, you’ll be in even better shape. Since your retirement savings accrue interest payments on the balance, it pays off to keep as much in savings as possible.

Calculate your essential expenses each month to determine how much wiggle room remains in your budget after the bills are paid. Set this money aside for non-essential spending or additional savings.

Consider Working Part-Time

It’s not uncommon for retirees to pick up a part-time job to cover monthly expenses or continue saving. If you loved your career and miss it in retirement, consider becoming a consultant, freelancer, or tutor instead. You can choose your own hours and still protect your savings by boosting your income.

These other popular jobs for seniors might interest you as well:

  • Athletic coach
  • Pet sitter
  • Bookkeeper for a local business
  • Medical biller
  • Driver
  • Event staffer
  • Retail staffer
  • Save for Unexpected Costs

Retirement doesn’t make life any more predictable. Health problems, family emergencies, and other unexpected costs can still occur at any time. Make sure you save enough to handle surprise expenses. You can do this by re-investing 20% of your retirement income or reducing your income to maintain a higher balance in a high-interest savings account.


Now that you’re retired, your needs may shift. Identify opportunities to downsize in order to cut your essential expenses:

  • Move to a smaller house
  • Trade-in your car for a less expensive model
  • Reduce your cable, internet, or cell phone plan
  • Sell the items stored in your basement or attic
  • Move to a more affordable area now that you aren’t limited by a commute to work

Downsizing doesn’t mean you must sacrifice the things you love! It simply provides a way to shed extra expenses from your budget and embrace a more streamlined financial plan.

Delay Social Security Benefits

It pays to hold off on claiming your Social Security benefits. If you were born after the year 1960, your Full Retirement Age (FRA) is 67. Claiming your Social Security benefits before age 67 forces you to accept reduced benefits. Claiming later, on the other hand, helps you earn higher benefits. You can delay up to age 70.

For every year that you wait to collect Social Security, you earn an 8% increase on your benefits. This means that you can increase your Social Security income by 24% if you don’t collect until age 70! That’s a huge difference that increases the average Social Security income by more than $4,000 annually.

With a pragmatic approach to spending and saving, you have the opportunity to enjoy a fulfilling retirement without the burden of financial difficulties.

Read about micro-investing and how to get started with our complete guide: Micro-Investing: What It Is, Why It’s for You and How to Start.