Some people dream of a white Christmas. But today, many retirees (and those looking ahead to retirement, for that matter) are dreaming of a green (And not as in wealthy, though that counts, too) retirement.
In his new book (which I highly recommend you read), Retirement Game-Changers, author Steve Vernon shares 10 tips for saving money during your retirement years that will also help to leave a better planet for our grandchildren.
So, we thought we'd ask financial advisers what advice they might have for those who want a green retirement. Here's what they had to say.
Invest green. Invest in line with your green and environmental values, to do well and good, says Allan Moskowitz, a certified financial planner with Transformative Wealth Management. "You don't have to give up returns to do both, but it helps to work with someone that has experience and understands and takes into account your unique values," he says.
Use your voice. Danielle Howard, a certified financial planner with Wealth by Design, recommends making sure your investments reflect your values. "Are there companies that you want to support or stay away from as a matter of principle?" she asks. "Your money has a voice. Use it wisely."
Install solar panels. Monica Dwyer, a certified financial planner with Harvest Financial Advisors had a home in the country 15 years ago that ran on solar electric. "We were very conscientious about the time that we spent using things like fans and television because we were 'budgeting our energy,'" she says. "I think that nowadays, you will find that solar panels can be used almost anywhere to supplement your energy use and keep your electric bill low."
Dwyer notes that the cost of solar has gone way down and the technology has improved quite a bit, too.
Save energy in big and little ways. "When budgeting your energy, consider those things that run all the time but you don't really use, like the DVD player," Dwyer says. "Can these devices be turned off during their down time? You can save a lot of money that way."
Dwyer noted, for instance, that she has a friend who decided that he could live without hot water all day with the exception of when he and his wife showered. "So, every day after their showers he would run to the basement and turn off the gas," she says. "Fifteen minutes before his wife showered, he would run down and turn it back on." The friend claimed, according to Dwyer, that he would be able to pay off his home five years earlier.
While you're searching for way to save energy, consider doing an energy audit your home, says Leon LaBrecque, a certified financial planner with LJPR Financial Advisors. He also suggests turning heat down in your house and "snuggling with a significant other in the cold season." Consider also buying a programmable thermostat.
Downsize. Instead of an owning a house, why not consider a condo or an apartment? "Something that is walking distance to shopping and other services will most likely have small lawns," says George Gagliardi, a certified financial planner with Coromandel Wealth Management.
Join the sharing economy. Avail yourself to the "sharing economy," says Howard. "What can you share instead of purchasing new? Instead of buying a second home, try out VRBO or Airbnb."
Plan your errands. Dwyer also recommends planning your errands in a way that allow you to do a few things at once rather than going out multiple times. And long before planning your errands, LeBrecque suggests using sustainable energy where possible, including hybrid vehicles. "Look at the carbon footprint of the vehicle," he says. "An electric car is a coal-fired auto. Ride a bike: you'll get exercise and save carbon."
Consider also buying a used car that is also highly fuel efficient instead of a new car. "It's much less expensive than a new car," says Gagliardi.
Grow your own. "I know people that, even in suburbs, have chickens that provide them with eggs and keep the bugs at bay," she says. "Some keep bees which provide honey and beeswax and there are co-ops that will teach you how to do this so that there is very little cost to set it up, but then you have to give back a certain amount of honey each year."
Gagliardi also recommends using "farm-share" programs with local farms, to both save money and support local farming.
Read more about Community Supported Agriculture from the USDA.
Don't buy more food than you need. Americans reportedly discard 40% of the food supply each year. "That is just so wrong," says Dwyer. "So, we should think of ways to use up food that is sitting in the fridge by planning better and getting creative about what we throw into our meals."
Consider using, for instance, an online ordering grocery story pickup service, which might help you avoid impulse shopping.
Teach your grandchildren well. Niv Persaud, a certified financial planner with Transition Planning & Guidance suggests volunteering to plant a tree with your grandchildren and planning an "altruistic" vacation with your grandchildren.
Howard also recommends talking to your grandkids about your money values and sharing your money history. "Making financial decisions based on mindful intention minimizes waste," she says.
It's never too late -- or too early -- to begin planning and investing for the retirement you deserve. Get the best ideas, latest strategies and the information that's right for you in TheStreet's newest premium product, Retirement Daily. Get a free trial subscription to learn more about saving for and living in retirement. Got questions about money, retirement and/or investments? Email Robert.Powell@TheStreet.com.