You might think you've stashed away enough money for retirement, but planning for the costs of your post-work years is no simple task. Many workers find themselves confronting hidden costs after they leave the workforce. The worst part? Those hidden costs have a habit of rising over the years. Elle Kaplan, founding partner and chief executive officer of LexION Capital Management in New York City, says that pre-retirees have a bad habit of underestimating how much they'll spend once they leave the workforce.
"Remember, you will have a lot more free time," Kaplan says. "You have all day to sit and watch QVC and the Home Shopping Network. You have more time to go out to dinner. You might spend more than you think." Still, it's possible to keep your expenses under control by learning about these hidden costs in advance and planning for them. Here are some common expenses that often get overlooked during the retirement-planning process.
1. Health care
It might seem odd to consider medical costs as a hidden cost of retirement. As you age, you're likely to become acutely aware of how much it costs to keep your health. Besides, there is always Medicare to help cover those medical expenses, right? The problem is that health care tends to cost more and require more out-of-pocket expenses than pre-retirees expect, which can hurt even those who have set aside money specifically for medical costs, says Dan White, financial adviser with Glen Mills, Penn.-based Dan White and Associates. White points to the costs of prescription drugs as an example. Retirees are living longer, and with that comes a greater amount of prescription medications for many. "Health care costs can be huge," White says. "With people living longer, couples can pay a quarter-million dollars in medical costs alone during their retirements."