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5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For

Published by Elley
Edited: 1 month ago
Published: June 18, 2024

5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For: Ensuring a Comfortable and Secure Post-Career Lifem Retirement is a time to relax, travel, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, many retirees find themselves grappling with unexpected expenses that can put a dent in their retirement savings. Here are

5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For

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5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For: Ensuring a Comfortable and Secure Post-Career Lifem

Retirement is a time to relax, travel, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, many retirees find themselves grappling with unexpected expenses that can put a dent in their retirement savings. Here are five surprising expenses that retirees often forget to plan for:

Health Care

While Medicare covers many health care expenses for those over 65, it doesn’t pay for everything. Retirees may face out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, copayments, and prescription drugs. Long-term care, which can be incredibly expensive, is not covered by Medicare at all.

Home Maintenance

As we age, the upkeep of a home-and-garden/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>home

can become more demanding. Roofs may need repairs or replacement, appliances might break down, and landscaping can be time-consuming and costly. Retirees should consider setting aside funds for unexpected home repairs or hiring someone to help with maintenance.


While many retirees may no longer need to commute to work, they still rely on transportation for doctors appointments, social engagements, and errands. The costs of maintaining a car, purchasing public transportation passes, or arranging for rideshare services can add up.


Traveling during retirement is a dream for many, but it can be an expensive endeavor. Flights, lodging, and tours can add up quickly. Retirees should consider setting aside funds for travel or looking into cost-effective options like house swapping or traveling during off-peak seasons.

5. Hobbies and Entertainment

Retirement is a time for leisure, but hobbies and entertainment can be costly. Whether it’s joining a golf club, taking up painting, or attending plays and concerts, retirees should budget for these expenses to ensure they stay engaged and happy in their post-career life.

By planning ahead for these surprises, retirees can better ensure a comfortable and secure post-career life.

5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For

Retirement Planning: Unmasking the Surprising Expenses Often Overlooked

Retirement planning is a crucial aspect of securing one’s financial future, especially considering the potential consequences of underestimating expenses. As we approach our golden years, we envision relaxation, adventure, and financial security. However, retirees often face unexpected costs that can significantly impact their retirement income and overall financial security. This article aims to shed light on five such surprising expenses that are frequently overlooked during the retirement planning process.

Health Care Costs:

With age comes increased healthcare needs, which is why it’s essential to plan for medical expenses that Medicare and Medigap may not cover. These costs can include prescription medications, dental care, vision care, and long-term care services.

Home Maintenance:

Homeowners must consider the ongoing costs of maintaining their property, including repairs, renovations, and property taxes. These expenses can add up quickly and should be factored into your retirement budget.

Travel Expenses:

Retirement is a time for exploration, but travel expenses can quickly add up. Consider the costs of flights, accommodations, meals, and excursions when planning your retirement budget.

Entertainment Expenses:

Entertainment expenses, such as hobbies, classes, and subscriptions, can be easy to overlook but are essential for maintaining overall well-being during retirement.

5. Taxes:

Retirees may still be subject to taxes on Social Security benefits, pension income, and other sources of retirement income. It’s essential to understand the tax implications of your retirement income to accurately plan for expenses.

Stay informed and be prepared! By acknowledging these hidden costs, retirees can make more informed decisions about their retirement planning strategies.

5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For

Surprise Expense #1: Health Care Costs

Significant Concern for Retirees:

As retirees transition into this new phase of life, they often face unexpected financial challenges. Among these challenges, health care costs

rank high

Although Medicare is designed to help cover some health care expenses for Americans over the age of 65, it does not pay for everything. In fact, retirees may find themselves shouldering a significant portion of their health care costs out-of-pocket.

The Gap Between Medicare and Out-of-Pocket Costs

It’s essential to understand that Medicare does not cover all health care expenses


Each year, Medicare beneficiaries must pay an annual deductible before their coverage kicks in. In 2022, the Part B deductible is $198.


Once a retiree has met their deductible, they will typically pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for certain services. For outpatient therapy, this could mean paying a substantial portion of the cost.


In addition to deductibles and coinsurance, retirees may also face copayments for certain services. For instance, a routine doctor visit might cost $147 under Medicare Part B.

Financial Impact on Retirees

According to a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the average retired couple can expect to spend about $305,000 on out-of-pocket health care costs during their retirement.

Long-Term Care Needs:

When considering health care costs, it’s crucial to remember that long-term care needs

can be particularly costly.

Assisted living facilities and home health care services can easily run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.


For instance, according to Genworth Financial’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey, the median annual cost for a private room in an assisted living facility is $54,000. This expense can significantly impact a retiree’s financial stability and retirement savings.

In summary:

Retirees must be aware of the significant out-of-pocket health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover.

Understanding the potential financial impact, including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments, is crucial. Additionally, considering the long-term care needs and associated expenses can help retirees better plan for their financial future.

5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For

I Surprise Expense #2: Home Maintenance and Repairs

As retirees explore their housing options, homeownership continues to be a popular choice due to its potential for stability and the possibility of building equity over time. However, the responsibility of maintaining and repairing the property can be a surprising expense that many retirees may not have considered.

The Hidden Costs of Homeownership

Home repairs and improvements are an inevitable part of homeownership, and the costs can add up quickly. Some common home repairs or improvements that can be costly include:

  • A new roof: A roof replacement can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the size of the house and the materials used.
  • HVAC system: The average cost to replace an HVAC system can range from $5,000 to $12,000 or more.
  • Appliances: The cost of replacing major appliances like a refrigerator, dishwasher, or washer and dryer can range from $300 to $3,000 or more.

Preparing for the Unexpected

Retirees should be aware that home maintenance costs can also include unexpected expenses, such as plumbing issues or foundation problems. These types of repairs can be expensive and could potentially put a strain on a retiree’s budget.

Tips for Planning for Home Maintenance Costs

To help mitigate the financial impact of home maintenance costs, retirees can take the following steps:

Create a Budget:

Create a budget that includes a line item for home maintenance and repairs. This can help retirees set aside funds for unexpected expenses.

Set Aside Funds:

Set aside a portion of their savings for home maintenance and repairs. A general rule of thumb is to save 1% to 4% of the home’s value each year for repairs and maintenance.

Purchase a Home Warranty:

Consider purchasing a home warranty, which can help cover the cost of certain repairs and replacements. Home warranties typically cost between $300 and $600 per year.

5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For

Surprise Expense #3: Travel and Entertainment

Retirement is a time for many individuals to explore new experiences, engage in hobbies, and travel to far-off locales. However, the costs associated with these activities can add up quickly, potentially catching retirees off guard.

Travel Expenses

Travel is one of the most common expenses for retirees, and it involves various costs that can add up. Airfare, for instance, can be expensive, especially during peak travel seasons or for long-haul flights. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, accommodations can also be a significant expense, depending on whether you prefer luxury hotels or more budget-friendly options. Don’t forget about meals, as eating out frequently can add up. Lastly, there’s the cost of transportation once you arrive at your destination – from renting a car to taking public transportation or taxis.

Entertainment Expenses

Entertainment costs are another category of expenses that can be substantial for retirees. Engaging in new hobbies or joining clubs and organizations often requires a membership fee. Tickets to events, such as concerts, sports games, or plays, can be expensive, especially when purchased last minute. For those who enjoy the outdoors, activities like golfing or fishing may come with additional costs.

Budgeting for Travel and Entertainment

To help manage these expenses, retirees should consider several strategies. For travel, planning trips during off-peak seasons can significantly reduce costs. Additionally, researching and comparing prices for airfare, accommodations, and transportation can help keep expenses in check. As for entertainment, seeking out free or low-cost activities is always a good option – from visiting local museums and libraries to exploring nature trails and participating in community events. By carefully planning and budgeting for travel and entertainment expenses, retirees can ensure they’re making the most of their retirement years without breaking the bank.

5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For

Surprise Expense #4: Property Taxes and Insurance

Retirees, in their quest for a comfortable lifestyle, often overlook the ongoing costs associated with property ownership, particularly property taxes and insurance premiums. While the initial purchase price may seem manageable, these expenses can add up significantly over time.

Property Taxes: Unpredictable and Increasing

Property taxes are a mandatory payment imposed by local governments to fund public services. Retirees should fully appreciate that property tax rates can vary significantly from one location to another, and in some cases, they might increase over time. For instance, states with high cost of living or expensive public services often have higher property tax rates than others.

Location Matters: Property Tax Rates Vary Widely

New Jersey, for example, has one of the highest average property tax rates at around $8,000 per year, while Alabama’s average is only about $1,050. This discrepancy can lead to significant differences in living expenses for retirees considering relocating.

Property Taxes Can Rise with Inflation

Moreover, property tax rates are not always static—they often increase with inflation. Over a 20-year retirement period, even modest annual increases can add up to substantial expenses.

Insurance Premiums: Multiple Expenses to Consider

Insurance premiums are another ongoing expense retirees should budget for. These include, but aren’t limited to:

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance protects against damage to a property, and rates can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, property size, and the insurer.

Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is required by law in most jurisdictions and can be affected by factors like age, driving history, and the type of vehicle.

Health Insurance

Health insurance premiums can be the most significant expense for retirees, especially those who don’t qualify for Medicare or have extensive health needs.

Managing Property Tax and Insurance Costs

Retirees can take steps to manage their property tax and insurance expenses:

Research Tax Exemptions

Many localities offer property tax exemptions or reductions for seniors, veterans, and low-income households. Retirees should check with their city or county government to see if they qualify.

Shop Around for Insurance Rates

Comparing insurance quotes from multiple providers is an effective way to find the best rates. Retirees should also consider bundling policies with a single insurer for additional savings.

Consider Relocating

For retirees facing high property tax and insurance expenses, relocating to a more affordable area might be an option worth exploring. A lower cost of living can significantly reduce ongoing expenses, allowing retirees to enjoy a more comfortable retirement.

5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For

VI. Surprise Expense #5: Unexpected Life Events

Life in retirement is often seen as a time for relaxation and enjoying the fruits of one’s labor. However, life is unpredictable, and retirees may face unexpected expenses related to personal or family emergencies, relocation, or caregiving responsibilities. These events can be financially draining and significantly impact retirement savings.

Impact on Retirement Savings

An unexpected expense, such as a serious health issue or a natural disaster, can force retirees to dip into their savings or even sell assets to cover the costs. This can set back retirement plans by years and make it difficult for retirees to maintain their standard of living.

Planning for the Unexpected

The best defense against unexpected expenses is preparation. Here are some suggestions that can help retirees plan for the unexpected:

Create an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is a savings account that provides a financial safety net for unexpected expenses. Ideally, retirees should aim to save enough to cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This can help ensure that unexpected expenses don’t derail retirement plans.

Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance can help cover the costs of caregiving responsibilities, whether they are provided at home or in a nursing home. With the average cost of long-term care in the United States estimated to be over $50,000 per year, purchasing insurance can help retirees protect their retirement savings from this potential expense.


In conclusion, unexpected expenses can be a significant challenge for retirees. By planning ahead and preparing for the unexpected, retirees can help ensure that they are financially prepared for whatever life may bring. Creating an emergency fund and purchasing long-term care insurance are just two ways that retirees can protect their retirement savings from the financial impact of unexpected expenses.
5 Surprising Expenses Retirees Often Forget to Plan For


As we reach the end of our discussion on retirement planning, it’s important to remember that even the most meticulously crafted plans can be derailed by unexpected expenses. In this concluding section, we will recap five surprising expenses that retirees often overlook and emphasize their potential financial impact on post-career life.

Health Care Costs

With the increasing cost of healthcare, retirees must plan for medical expenses that may not be covered by Medicare or other insurance. According to a report from Fidelity, the average couple retiring at age 65 can expect to spend $300,000 on healthcare expenses throughout retirement.

Home Maintenance

Home maintenance and repair costs can add up quickly, especially for older homes or those with significant damage from wear and tear. The National Association of Home Builders estimates that homeowners spend an average of $3,500 to $4,000 annually on maintenance and repair costs.

Travel and Leisure

While travel and leisure expenses may seem discretionary, they can add up quickly and impact a retiree’s overall budget. According to a survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, 58% of retirees say they want to travel more in retirement.

Long-term Care

Long-term care expenses can be a significant financial burden for retirees, with the cost of in-home care averaging $50,000 per year and nursing home care reaching up to $104,000 annually. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of Americans over age 65 will require long-term care at some point in their lives.

5. Taxes

Retirees may be surprised by the taxes they encounter during retirement, including income taxes on Social Security benefits, state and local taxes, and property taxes. According to a report from Kiplinger, eight states have no tax on Social Security benefits: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.

With these five expenses in mind, we encourage retirees to carefully consider all expenses, both anticipated and unexpected, when creating a retirement plan. It’s important to remember that every individual’s situation is unique, and a personalized retirement plan can help ensure financial security throughout retirement.

Resources for Further Reading:

Consulting with a financial advisor can also provide valuable insights and guidance as you plan for retirement. Don’t let unexpected expenses derail your post-career plans – take the time to consider all potential costs and create a personalized retirement strategy today.

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June 18, 2024