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Tips for retirees and pre-retirees that will help improve financial stability

When it comes to retirement, practice makes perfect.

Retirees become increasingly adept at managing their expenses and income as they age, according to new research. Retirees report becoming better at controlling spending, feeling more financially secure and finding creative ways to cut expenses without giving up activities they enjoy, according to the study sponsored by MassMutual.

The study is part of a larger research project conducted on behalf of MassMutual by Greenwald & Associates. The research culled information from 905 responses from retirees within 15 years of retirement. Respondents had a minimum of $50,000 in retirement savings.

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Of the study respondents who retired 11-15 years ago, 83 percent say they feel financially secure and 62 percent report being “very satisfied” with their lifestyle, the study found. Comparatively, 77 percent of respondents who retired fewer than five years ago say feel financially secure and 56 percent report being “very satisfied” with their lifestyle.

In most instances, retirees’ expenses are about what they expected or lower than expected before they retired, according to the study. In general, 40 percent of retirees say their expenses are lower than expected, with 30 percent reporting “much lower” expenses.

Sources of income shift for retirees the longer they are retired, the study shows, and few retirees report actually working, especially in later years. Only 36 percent of survey respondents who retired within five years report working as compared to 21 percent of respondents who retired 11-15 years ago.

Many retirees say they deferred taking Social Security retirement income until 10-15 years into retirement, according to the study. Deferring Social Security benefits increases payments by 8 percent a year until age 70.

Sarsynski recommended that pre-retirees take steps to realistically project their expenses before retirement:

* Connect with retirees to better understand their lifestyles and how they fill their days.

* Track all purchases, especially when on vacation, to better understand the cost and feasibility of activities you enjoy.

* Look for alternative ways to participate in activities you enjoy at lower costs, such as taking in local community theater in lieu of professionally produced shows.

* Reconnect with your spouse, children and friends to help bolster your social networks.

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