Andrew Parker

25 Expenses That Could Sabotage Your Retirement Savings

Retirement is meant to be a stress-free time in your life, but it doesn’t always end up that way. Sometimes, there are a few costs that sneak up on you and can take a huge bite out of your savings. But don’t worry, we’ve 25 of them right here, so you know exactly what to avoid.

Medical Bills

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Even with Medicare, you’ll still need to pay out-of-pocket for some medical bills, like co-pays and prescriptions, as these can add up quicker than you’d like. Don’t forget about the other things that Medicare doesn’t cover, like certain surgeries or specialist visits. If you’re dealing with chronic conditions, they’ll become a regular part of your monthly budget.

Care Costs

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Similarly, Medicare won’t cover long-term care. There’s a pretty hefty price tag on assisted living and at-home health aide services, which can easily run up a few thousand each month. You need to plan for these costs early because they can be the difference between retiring comfortably and suffering from financial stress.

Dental Bills

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Medicare doesn’t cover most dental work either, which means keeping your smile can end up costing quite a bit. And if you need major work done? Good luck. You can get regular cleanings and check-ups to help with this, but that’s only part of the problem. Getting a crown or bridge can easily run into the thousands.

Home Repairs

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Our homes love to throw us surprises worth a pretty penny, like a leaky roof or a busted pipe, and they have a way of doing these at the worst time. Even your heating or air conditioning can suffer a serious failure that could force you to dip into your savings. Plan ahead, and set some aside for emergencies like this.

Property Taxes

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Just when you think you’ve got your budget set, property taxes go up, which can be a real pain if you’re trying to keep your expenses steady. Many people don’t realize that their local government can reassess property values and hike up rates. This could cause their tax bill to grow quite a lot, year after year.


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Inflation is an absolute killer for your budget, no matter how old you are. It makes everything cost more over time, and it can be particularly hard when you’re on a fixed income. This gradual increase will affect everything from your grocery bills to utility bills, meaning that you’ll have to reconsider how you’re spending.


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If you’ve got dreams of seeing the world, you’ve got to remember that travel is amazing but not cheap. Those flights and hotels add up fast. And then there are expenses like eating out or going on expeditions. If you’re not careful, what started as a small getaway can quickly turn into a major expenditure.

Family Help

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Who doesn’t love helping their kids or grandkids? Doing it financially is kind, yes, but it can also be very expensive because those costs can sneak up on you quickly. You might be covering unexpected bills or regular expenses, and this can cause you some major financial issues. Only help if you’re sure you’ll be okay doing so.

Utility Bills

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Being retired means you’ll probably be at home more, which means higher utility bills. After all, you’re using a lot more electricity and water, for starters, and it’s just one of those things you don’t think about until it hits. And if you decide to pick up a hobby that requires power tools, you can expect that bill to climb even more.

Car Trouble

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Keeping a car running will drain your wallet, especially if it’s older. But you’re not safe with a new one, either, because that’s also going to be a huge expense. You can try to avoid some of this by regularly maintaining your car, but eventually, car parts will wear out, and they’ll need to be replaced.

Eating Out

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Love eating out? Then you need to remember that these meals can start to add up, with some reports suggesting you can spend over $2,500 annually on it. Since you’ve got more free time, you might find yourself eating out more often. This can quickly take up a big part of your spending, which you’ve got to account for.

Pet Care

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Our furry friends are cute, yes, but they’re also pretty pricey. After all, vet bills can be enough to make you take out a loan, and we’re not just talking about regular check-ups. Pet medications alone can be pretty pricey. Even if you’re not dealing with these health problems, you’ve also got to think about the cost of pet toys and pet food.

Yard Work

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If you’ve got a yard, keeping it looking nice might mean that you’re shelling out for some extra help unless you’re up for the challenge yourself. But mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges can get difficult after a while, so you might find yourself hiring someone. This can become a necessary yet recurring expense.

Keeping Up With Tech

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To stay connected, you need to keep up with the latest gadgets, and that can take out a huge chunk of your savings. And it’s not just the tech because you’ve also got the accessories and subscriptions to worry about. All of these can add to the total cost, leaving you with a pretty big investment.


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It doesn’t matter what your hobbies are because all of them have a way of costing more than you’d think. Like golf? You’ve got the golf clubs and membership to think about. Into painting? You’ve got to think about how much canvases and brushes are. And that’s just if you’re a professional because, as a beginner, classes will cost a lot, too.

Emergency Costs

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Nobody likes surprises, and especially not the expensive kind. Unfortunately, this is something everyone’s got to deal with, so an emergency fund is a must. You might need to cover a major health issue that requires expensive treatment or an emergency home repair. Either way, you have to be prepared for this.


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As you get older, you’d think insurance would get cheaper, but sadly, it’s the opposite, as high premiums can stick around. Sometimes, they’ll even increase, especially if you live in places where natural disasters are common or if you have a high-risk health condition. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world, as you can shop around to find a better deal.


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All those small monthly fees for magazines or streaming will soon add up to something that’s not-so-small. It’s easy to forget about those little charges, but they can soon drain your bank account when you’re on a fixed income. Keep a close eye on your subscriptions and cancel anything you don’t need.

Membership Fees

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Similarly, with all that free time, you might decide to join a bunch of clubs so you can keep socializing. While it’s great for your mental health, those yearly fees aren’t so great for your wallet. You’ve got to pay the initial cost and then maybe for special events or maintenance. These can add up faster than you might realize.

Being Generous

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It’s always good to be generous, especially since it has a lot of mental health benefits, but these costs can add up to make a big dent in your finances. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help other people, but you need to balance this with your financial needs. After all, you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin.

Paying For Expert Help

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You might think you can get ahead of these potential financial issues by hiring an expert, but that’ll also be an extra expense. Tax laws and financial markets are constantly changing, so staying on top of your finances can sometimes require professional input. This comes at a cost, too, so keep this in mind.

Moving House

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Many people decide to downsize or move closer to their families during retirement. While that’s a great idea, the costs of getting a new house and moving can really add up. Realtor fees alone are pretty pricey, and then you have the closing costs to think about. If that’s not bad enough, you’ve got to deal with the hassle of packing and physically moving your stuff. Ouch.

Wardrobe Worries

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Every once in a while, you’ve got to freshen up your wardrobe, and quality clothes don’t come cheap. Even just a few new outfits for special occasions can be expensive and don’t get us started on trying to keep up with the latest styles. You need to be careful with where and how you shop to keep your look fresh all year round.

Taxes on Your Savings

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When you start dipping into your retirement funds, you’ll have to start paying taxes on these, too. Any money you take out from retirement accounts like a 401(k) or an IRA is taxable, and if you don’t plan this carefully, it can massively reduce what you have left to spend. Plus, depending on your total income, these withdrawals could bump you into a higher tax bracket.

Updating Legal Documents

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Most people don’t think about updating legal documents until they have to, such as revising a will or updating power of attorney forms. Either way, you’ll need to get legal help for this, which isn’t cheap. Unfortunately, you don’t really have a choice about doing it, so make sure you set some aside for this.

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