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  • Writer's pictureDamilola Agubata

5 Unexpected Expenses to Prepare for in Retirement

You can choose to relax in the knowledge that you have a stable and secure pension plan and think that you won’t be faced with surprises in the future when you retire.

You can also choose to realise that although you have a stable pension plan, you still need to prepare for any unexpected expenses that might affect your finances in retirement — it’s not too much to ask for, don’t you think?

That being said, let’s look at five unexpected expenses that can hold you back from having the retirement of your dreams — and how you can prepare for them.

1. Overwhelming medical bills

Even if you have adequate health insurance, the time in your life when you are most likely to rack up more medical expenses is when you are retired.

These costs, whether they are for routine checkups or treatment of illness, can quickly add up. And if you don't have adequate health insurance, they can put an even greater financial strain on you and your family.

How you can prepare for this:

Taking good care of oneself during one's younger years is, without a doubt, the most effective strategy for reducing the financial burden of medical expenses during retirement.

Consuming nutritious foods, getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, and engaging in plenty of physical activity are all things that can assist you in maintaining good health and warding off several illnesses that are associated with growing older.

2. Unexpected upkeep and repair needs at home

As you (and your home) get older, there will always be something that needs to be repaired or replaced, and it doesn't matter how well-maintained your property is.

These costs can really add up over time, especially if you end up having to replace things like your roof or your water heater. And if you're living off of a fixed income, it can be very difficult to pay for these expenses without having to dip into your savings.

Also, as you grow older, you’ll notice that some chores you could conveniently take on in your younger years would be too much of a risk at say, 65 years of age and above. This means that you'll need the assistance of someone who can help you clean and maintain your house, especially when you can’t fully rely on your children or grandchildren to always be available. And this person or group of people whom you might need to contact will expect to be paid for their efforts which will result in more expenses for you as time goes on.

How you can prepare for this:

One strategy for covering these costs is to make any necessary repairs and improvements to your home before retiring. This will ensure that these costs do not come as a surprise once you are living on a fixed income.

Another option to save money in retirement is to move into a smaller house or flat. This can help you retire with fewer worries about the cost of upkeep and utilities.

3. Experiencing the death of a spouse

The loss of a spouse in retirement is a major source of financial stress for married people. Besides the obvious emotional toll, your financial situation will be severely altered. The reason for this is that most families rely on both partners' incomes. Many people find it difficult to make ends meet after the death of a spouse because they no longer have two incomes to split.

The death of a spouse not only means one less source of income, but also additional, one-time costs, such as the deceased's funeral. Due to the high cost of a funeral, these can add up quickly.

In the end, the surviving spouse may be forced to go back to work, downsize their living arrangements, and sell off personal possessions to make ends meet.

How you can prepare for this:

We must first acknowledge that the only certainty in life is death, making it an experience we'd rather avoid but must face nonetheless.

However, a good way to prepare for this is to have a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) that can be processed as a death benefit for the deceased’s next of kin or beneficiary.

4. A child who is experiencing difficulty

When a child is in financial need, it's human nature to want to step in and help out. However, depending on your savings and anticipated expenses in the future, it may become more challenging as you age to recover from such an unexpected expense. Half of all parents who help their adult children financially report that doing so has negatively impacted their retirement savings.

How you can prepare for this:

A good way to prepare for this unexpected expense is to opt for additional voluntary contributions while you are still active in the workforce. Doing this means that your retirement savings will be more than enough to cover your basic expenses even after you’ve helped a child sort out some financial need.

To understand more about how additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) help you in retirement, read this blog post on why you should use AVCs to save for a comfortable retirement.

5. Relocation expenses that were not budgeted for

In retirement, most people slow down and enjoy life. However, for some, this is a time of transition as they move to be nearer to loved ones or to enjoy more favourable climates. The good news is that you can always be ready for these transitions because they are usually anticipated. You are under no obligation to actually relocate until you have amassed sufficient savings.

However, there are some instances in which you may have to move out of the blue. The most common reason is a member of the family needing to relocate due to illness. It may be necessary to move to be closer to a medical facility that can provide your spouse or child with the specialised care they require.

Another reason is when you’ve been evicted. If any of these things happen to you, you won't have a choice but to relocate, and you may not have much time to look for a new place to live. Therefore, costs like deposits and moving expenses can add up quickly, making this a serious drain on your finances.

How you can prepare for this:

Having an emergency fund is the best way to prepare for potential relocation expenses you hadn't budgeted for. You won't need to worry about going into debt or using your retirement savings for things like moving costs because of this.

The key takeaway

In all, we have been able to see that the first step to preparing for any unforeseen expenses in retirement is having a stable Retirement Savings Account (RSA) where your regular contributions are saved.

If you’ve been inconsistent with saving for retirement and would like to transfer your RSA to Oak Pensions, call the Marketing Manager at 09087448661 or send an email to


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