Retirement & Financial Planning Report

If you suspect that your reduced income during retirement will not go far enough to cover your expenses, you may need to toughen up on your budget. And if you’re the type who never had a budget, that would mean creating one in the first place.

Either way, you’ll want to create an honest list of all of your expenses and put them into categories.

* Start by examining entertainment and travel outlays. Do you really need to take that expensive cruise on your next vacation? Fewer restaurant meals, at not-so-pricey places, also may help.

* Next, look at your household vehicles. Often, they’re a major expense. See if one can be eliminated, or if you can change one vehicle to a model that’s less expensive to insure and operate.

* Don’t forget the little things. You may be able to negotiate better deals for cable TV or cell phones, for example.

* Practice tough love. If you’re helping to support grown children, this may be an area where you’ll need to cut back, in order to balance your own budget and invest for your retirement.

While you’re cutting back, though, be sure you retain adequate insurance coverage for your home, your vehicles and your life.

Getting a better handle on your spending, and finding potential savings, also might help sway a decision on when you will be able to retire. If, after projecting your spending after you would make such adjustments, the income still simply won’t be enough, you might need to continue working longer than you had thought.