The title grabbed my attention: 10 Ways to Live More Frugally. In the section on retirement, this article in a national newspaper listed ideas for cutting back spending during retirement.
Unfortunately, the author used an approach I refer to as “Eat Your Vegetables,” meaning the information is so basic, so much common knowledge, it is like telling someone to stop smoking, exercise more, and eat more fruits and vegetables to improve his health. There is nothing new, nothing that hasn’t been suggested a million times before.
A sampling of the 10 Ways included:
* Plan carefully if you are thinking of moving
* Plan your meals for the week
* Review your cable or streaming bills
* Be a savvy grocery shopper
* Check out discounts and freebies
I am a little surprised that the list didn’t include: don’t walk in front of a bus, and close the windows when it is raining. OK, that is a bit snarky. But, seriously, the best this national newspaper can come up with is to review your Internet bill and look for dining discounts?
Sometimes I think folks who write retirement articles are all in their 20s or 30s and look at us as if we have lost the ability to think. They present ideas as if their target reader is a class of 2nd graders. They have no clue what our life is like or what steps we have already taken to ensure a satisfying retirement. They tend to overlook that we have had to make a lot of decisions and hard choices just to be old enough to qualify as a retiree!
A thoughtful article on ways to cut expenses during retirement is always welcome. Cutting out waste and evaluating where our money goes is important. A national survey of those 65-74 suggests that we spend 43% of our money on our home and house-related expenses. 14% for transportation, 13% for food, and 11% for health costs (thank you Medicare!).
If those numbers are accurate, nearly half our money each year goes to keeping a roof over our head and in good repair. Logically, there are substantial saving possibilities in that category alone. Everything from freezing property taxes for those over 65, or getting help with utility bills if your income is low enough to qualify, to the potential savings from installing energy-efficient windows, solar panels, new siding, or using LED lights are worth exploring.
My bottom line is simple: articles in national newspapers and magazines that target retirees should be putting more effort into the content. We are not simpletons that need to be told to look for coupons to save money when dining out. We are grownups who have done quite well, thank you very much. Give us meaningful, actionable information that isn’t a simple repackaging of hackneyed, trite, and obvious material.
Does this qualify as a rant?