Fifteen Ways to Slash Spending in Retirement

Workers approaching retirement are often told by experts that they will need only about 80% of their income after they stop working to maintain the same lifestyle.

After all, expenses fall when retirees don’t need to dry-clean their work wardrobe and commute every day. And they have more time to shop for deals and handle house and yard work themselves. Presumably, the children are out of the nest or have their own financial flight plan.

The problem is that many retirees soon discover the 80% rule of thumb doesn’t work. “I’m finding that to be unrealistic with today’s retirees,” says James R. Miller, president of Woodward Financial Advisors in Chapel Hill, N.C. “It is more like 100%.”

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Expenses associated with work might fall, but early retirees face temptations everywhere, whether in the form of travel, golf, club memberships, or more socializing.

A regular paycheck — and the obligation to save much of it each month — often constrains budgets. [Read the full article]

Government efficiency and budget cutting will again be the focus at the Iowa Legislature this week as lawmakers scramble to cover an expected shortfall.

Legislators know they need to act quickly because leaders have agreed to trim the session from 100 days to 80 days to save money.

That means moving fast on the budget and speeding up a self-imposed cutoff for legislation that will be considered this year.

“We had about 500 bills read in last week,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines. “There are still a lot of members pushing a lot of bills.”

That’s where the Legislature’s deadline comes into play. The system, known as the funnel, requires measures to advance at a certain pace to remain eligible for consideration. At the end of this week, measures that haven’t been approved by a committee in either the House or Senate are doomed. [Read the full article]

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Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said Monday that if lawmakers want to change his plan to save money by restructuring state government, they will have to so in a way that doesn’t affect his budget plans for the State Patrol.

In his weekly news conference, Culver acknowledged that some legislators oppose his plan to shift $50 million from a gasoline-tax financed state road fund to the Iowa State Patrol. Some lawmakers have also suggested the state should close a mental health center in Clarinda rather than one in Mount Pleasant.

In both cases, Culver said if legislators reduce savings included in his proposals, they’ll need to cut costs elsewhere in order to cover an expected shortfall of at least $340 million.

“Obviously we’re going to have some differences,” Culver said. [Read the full article]

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