Running Out Of Money In Retirement

Portrait of a young woman at desk with laptop, fear
This isn’t me. It’s an actress portraying worried me.

Every retirees nightmare, whether they have $5million dollars or $50thousand dollars or $5thousand dollars or just five bucks in savings has the same exact fear: running out of money in retirement. I have to say I am guilty of living this nightmare too. My spending sprees, at times, have caused me to worry about my future. In retrospect, I know I spend too much money but I can justify each and every penny spent. Nonetheless, if I keep up with my own spending pace, there’s a possibility I too may run out of money in my retirement.

I track all my income and outgo so I am well aware of what goes on in my life. Doesn’t mean I’m going to change or anything. Eventually my reality sets in and I do change. I do compromise. So, maybe there’s hope for me yet.

I read this article yesterday (click here) “Retirement Savings Looking A Little Light? Here’s How To Have The Last Laugh” addressing the same exact fears I (and everyone else) faces in retirement. What makes this article so special and different from all the others, however, is that it offers a solution to the ‘running out of money in retirement’ syndrome. All is not lost. If you’re in your late 50’s or early 60’s and have come to the conclusion you haven’t saved enough for retirement, you’re looking at your retirement all wrong.

Say what?

The author, Margaret Manning writes: “Fortunately, just after my 60th birthday, I had a conversation with my son and his wife that changed my life. They reminded me that it’s not how much you have saved that counts… it’s how much income you have each month!

Once DH and I officially retire in three years, we will be receiving more money in our retirement than we were lately earning. So much so, that if our expenses remain the same (except for COLA and some surprises) I’ll be able to save some money in a savings account rather than the other way around. The keyword here is: keeping expenses the same. Knowing me, and my husband’s greatest fear about me is, once extra money starts rolling in, I’ll find those justified excuses to spend the money. I’m still dreaming about going on a Greek Isles cruise and rambling through Barcelona. Plus we need a new bed and I’d like a new, larger, wireless smart screen TV in the living room and….and….and…

See what I mean?

I’m my worst enemy. The good part is that I know I am my worst enemy and I’ve taken steps to curtail myself. I’ve locked so much of our money away in investments that can’t be liquidated or withdrawn as a drastic means of controlling my spending habits. One of the main reasons why hubby won’t sell our marital abide is because he knows I’ll come up with justifiable (there’s that word again) reasons why I should spend, spend, spend.

The other part of Margaret Manning’s ‘running out of money in retirement’ syndrome solution is to hustle and have a side job bringing in the extra cash you need. Before you actually retire, Manning recommends starting a side business, while you are still working. Doing so has several benefits. First, the money that you make from your side venture can go into savings, helping you to make up for lost time. Second, and just as important, starting a side business gives you the opportunity to build a revenue generating venture that will follow you into retirement.

DH is doing fine in this department. Me? I just lost my side hustling job. Granted it was only $100 a month, but that was an additional $1200 a year in extra income. I’m debating if I should or if I even could get another side hustle. I need ideas and that’s where Margaret Manning and her website ‘Sixty and Me‘ (click here) will come in handy. Manning is starting a conversation filled with ideas and suggestions for a side job hustle just perfect for women over the age of fifty.

In the interim, trying to get me to curtail my spending will be a challenge. I think I spend my money on needs rather than wants BUT what’s a need vs a want in my book? Certainly not the same as in your book, for sure. I’ve spent a lot of money this past month on new winter clothes. Last time I bought winter clothes was back in 2005. (See how I justify my spending?) I also bought everything on sale or closeout. (Another one of my justifications) It just got to a point in my life where I was tired of shopping secondhand or at thrift shops (another spending justification) and I wanted new clothes so that I could stay warm this winter, as it would be my first winter back up north, in four years (another one of my famous justifications)

My greatest weaknesses are live entertainment (I bought 5 tickets for my kids and us to see The Rockettes in NYC Christmas Show $305, 4 tickets for us, my sister and her hubby to see David Foster at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center $248) and travel. I’ve booked state parks vs RV resorts in Florida for 6 weeks this winter @$856 , booked a trip to Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon @$401 cash plus points this early spring and Bermuda next spring @$550 plus points) Throw in every once in a while I like to dine at a nice restaurant; I like to get my hair professionally cut vs bargain chain salons and you can see my spending tally rise. Do I want to live or do I want to exist?

The real question I should be asking myself is: Do you want to continue to live in your home or do you want to live in your daughters basement? If I don’t get hold of myself OR make arrangements to bring in more cash, I may find myself knocking on my daughters front door sometime in the distant future. The greatest path to self healing is acknowledgement. I know I have a spending problem (or do I?) The next step is for me to take control of it.

Manning’s parting words: Starting a business before retirement allows you to take control of your life. Instead of asking someone else for a job, you can create your own. You will be the master of your own destiny – and isn’t that really the main point of retirement?





  1. I think your plans for the theatre sound absolutely wonderful. The question is, did you take the funds out of your monthly income or out of retirement savings?

    Of COURSE you wan to live, not just to exist.


    • Anne unfortunately out of savings. I allot $6000 a year for taxes, travel and entertainment. Obviously, I’m spending too much in the latter. If it were just going to the movies it would come out of regular monthly income. But tickets are expensive and I just adore going. I know I’m going to weaken when we get to Vegas. At least I’m planning for that one.
      We need to up our side hustling jobs right now in order to compensate. The other alternative would be to not go anywhere but that’s NOT going to happen. I want to live. Not merely exist. There’s a bunch of top quality holiday movies coming out now, specifically from Disney. At $6 a ticket, I’ll be doing that with my youngest granddaughter as she’s still too young for live entertainment. Thank goodness!


  2. I admit I spend way too much on my 6 grandchildren ,but I justify It because it gives me such pleasure. I live for the day and just don’t worry about tomorrow . As long as I have good health and loving family I am rich. I will keep making family memories . Nothing else really matters to me. Always been a free spirited gypsy so can’t change me now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Evelyn I would give anything to have your attitude. I’m a worry wart. But I am enjoying my grandchildren and to heck with that expense!


      • I Love spoiling the grandkids! I just treated my two older grandkids and daughter to the movie premiere of Disney Nutcracker and dinner. It was awesome but the story line is a little more intricate and scary for kids Six and under.. sincerely, Lara


      • We were thinking of taking the little one to see that movie but she’s under six so I think we’ll skip it for now. Thanks for the review.
        Picked up my youngest this weekend, with SIL and GD#1. We’re going back to the farm we went to last weekend with my other daughter. I guess each one gets a turn, right?
        Then soon enough we’ll all be seeing The Rockettes in NYC. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. LOL.
        Thanks for your comment.


      • My seven year old grandson got scared and went into his Mom’s lap, My daughter told me she is skipping the Polar Express this year and wants to see the Rockettes instead with her family. Trying to figure out when she wants to go between Christmas and New Year she could go on a weekday or before Thanksgiving on a weekend.Do you know when Saks window display is unveiled? Or the Christmas tree is lighted? I thought not before Thanksgiving.
        I notice ShopRite has the organic crushed and whole tomatoes also on for a buck a can. Have you ever used these? Sincerely,Lara


      • I think the Christmas Tree lighting is the day after Thanksgiving. The closer it gets to Xmas, the more expensive the tix to see the Rockettes. We paid $42 per ticket BUT the fees per ticket was $18.95. Ridiculous! But they get the money anyway.
        I would think that all the window displays would be up and running the day after Thanksgiving.
        The only tomatoes I get from Shop Rite are the Tutterrossa. I buy them by the case when they go sale for .88 cents a can.


    • Scary thought yes indeed. I have thought about it Sue and yes we will be Ok if either they gut it completely or just reduce it. Financial experts all agree that it is never wise to depend on social security. If we need medical attention we can pay cash.
      I can always revert my property back to its original farm life should it become extreme.
      Thanks for your comment.


  3. So sorry you lost your $1200 side gig, hopefully you find another way to make this up. IMHO, Property taxes are not a discretionary item, paying them is a necessity to stay in your home. I think you may have a problem with clustering taxes with discretionary spending on the joyful luxuries you enjoy- travel and entertainment. This gives you a false sense that you have more available for travel and entertainment. When you own your home the taxes are no longer escrowed monthly like when you have a mortgage, I found it easier and rewarding to set up my own “escrow account” that earned interest and had a $200 bonus for opening. I then wrote a check to this account every month ( 1/12 th of my taxes) and therefore it was part of my monthly income expenses. A friend watches for other deals from other banks both locally and nationallly, and online banks and pays close attention to how long the money needs to be maintained there to keep the bonus and routinely gets a thousand dollars yearly by transferring this money to other deals. I personally find with interest rates climbing
    -getting better interest is adding more monthly income. Hallelujah! I just got all of my 2019 Medicare health insurance premiums notices and their total monthly increase is less then the better interest made in my HSA account last year, so my second year costs on Medicare is Easily covered.
    There is also advantages to having retirement savings accounts ( Roth, Traditional IRA, or 401k that can make you more money by transferring to another broker. FYI: My Fidelity Brokerage CDs I transferred to Merrill and made a bonus and in January through April the Merrill bonuses usually are higher. Received $1200 bonus in September from Merrill for transferring brokerage CDs and brokerage investment account. I am looking on maybe transferring the money again to get a bonus To add what these long term CDS make in interest, too.
    BTW, Will your daughter and sister reimburse you for their tickets? Or is your generosity and treating them causing you a financial hardship? Sincerely, Lara


    • Hi Lara. I’m paying for my granddaughter’s ticket and I bought my sister’s ticket as a birthday present. I know. I know. I think I have to stop this in the future.
      Once Nick goes on Social Security, I will be putting our tax money away in a savings account monthly. Probably in a Money Market account that pays around 2% (right now) or so. I’ve already started making plans and calculating. Till then, I’ve calculated withdrawing $6,000 out of our savings every September. This covers our home taxes for the year plus fills in the gaps for travel and entertainment. I’ve already lowered our travel budget enormously and I think it’s time for me to lower my entertainment budget also. I think going to the movies at holiday times will be a whole lot easier on our budget. I think I’ve been doing a lot better at attending free local events!
      My Part D prescription plan almost doubled: $20 a month to $35 a month. I compared my med coverage to other plans and my existing plan is still the best. Ditto for my supplement plan. I haven’t gotten the raise on that yet but I already got a letter warning me the raise is coming. UGH! Those expenses come out of our monthly income and are still doable, so I’m not worried about them.
      All I know is thank heaven we have our RV. That little thing comes in handy and provides some real fine traveling. Thank goodness also for airline miles. We’re set with that for the next 3 years! Both options are keeping our vacation budget in check.
      Now if I can just lay off the live entertainment…….
      Thanks for your info. I am going to look into the transferring options.


  4. I think you have done fantastic on the trips plan using your airline miles and fulfilling your dream to see the Grand Canyon. Such a great way to celebrate Nick’s Birthday! When I flew into Las Vegas to change planes to California in the afternoon we had to circle for half hour and kept flying by the Grand Canyon repeatedly. The pilot had alerted us to this. Absolutely Gorgeous! Never had an RV just did some tent camping in my twenties and once with my kids. We use the Ramada credit card to earn our hotel rooms from my son’s college tuition for four trips one to San Francisco, Carmel, Monterrey and Napa Valley and twice to Florida and then another trip to Montreal and Canada.
    Is it three years from March till Nick will claim Social Security and Medicare?
    Sincerely Lara

    Liked by 1 person

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