Rising costs

As we go through life we find that our cost of living rises exponentially. Clothes cost more. Sports equipment for teenagers soars, entertainment consumes ever more money. 

Then, of course, post-secondary education costs climb more than anyone could expect. Marriage and buying a house, followed by rearing the next generation, is hugely expensive and just keeps on growing.

There are a multitude of hidden costs for older people.

When people contemplate their retirement, they envision themselves retiring at the age of 55 as some advertisements suggest, living on a sandy beach in warm climate adjacent to a golf course.  Rarely is this feasible. Older people often complain that they need auxiliary heating so that requires an additional expense.  Insurance charges escalate as more coverage is needed for home helpers and caregivers who perform tasks hitherto an individual’s concern.

Public transportation becomes less convenient so one has to take a taxi for doctor’s appointments.  Using one’s own car is less feasible for older people, particularly in inclement weather. An electric scooter or a wheelchair may become a necessity. Higher eating costs are another issue. Prepared foods assume a greater portion of a food bill and cost more than fresh foods that require handling. It has been estimated that prepared foods will add about $70 per month per person. Cleaning often requires some kind of help.

Individual health issues rise for older people with medication not covered by governments.  Some drug stores offer a discount on special days but they do not cover the added medications prescribed so seniors must cut back on their food costs! 

Professional services such as preparing tax returns are an example of unforeseen expenses for retirees. Even cutting grass and shoveling snow are additional costs. Many older individuals are forced to live in a so-called retirement residence, which can consume most of their pension and investment income. Hence, so many tasks that many of the aging heretofore performed themselves now entail assistance, obviously costing extra.

Older people must change their investment strategy now to capture dividend income and avoid growth stocks that eventually lead to more income while sacrificing investing for the long term. As an old person too, this columnist finds the array of hidden costs I am dealing with now, unimaginable way back when.

Therefore, middle aged individuals must prepare forthwith for what lays in store eventually.  Individuals must hope that the next generation will provide the needed assistance, but will they? Can they? Inflation inevitably develops cyclically, as will the cost of living climb.



Bruce Whitestone