20 Ways To Improve Retirement

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Includes: AAPL, AGNC, AMZN, AVB, CMO, EQR, KO, MMM, MO, NFLX, NLY, PG, PM, RPAI, S, SBUX, SPG, SUI, T, TCO, TMUS, VZ, WFC, WMT
by: Colorado Wealth Management Fund
Summary

Making your personal income statement work in retirement can be difficult.

10 ways to improve your revenue in retirement.

10 ways to cut back on expenses.

This research report was produced by The REIT Forum with assistance from Big Dog Investments.

Many retirees are forced to make difficult choices.

Their personal income statement may leave quite a bit to be desired. Much like a company, the retiree must manage their revenues and expenses. Unfortunately, many retirees are sacrificing their balance sheet in an attempt to pump up revenues. That poor strategy comes back to bite investors in the end.

Today, I want to share several ideas about how you can improve your income statement.

Revenues

There are several techniques to raise revenue in retirement. Most of them are dramatically better than buying sucker yields.

Option 1 - Bet on sporting events

By betting on sporting events, you can pretend you’re making money while you’re losing your retirement.

Photo source

This is a terrible suggestion and I threw it in to make sure you were paying attention.

Option 2 - Take dogs for a walk

If you live in the city, you may have access to dog walking opportunities. Walking the dogs won’t pay a great deal, but it can provide a little additional revenue if your monthly income is a little too tight. The added benefit is the opportunity to get some exercise and play with some loveable canines.

Option 3 - Write articles on the internet

That may sound easier said than done, but I am writing this article by voice while walking my own dog. This lets me save money from not having to pay a dog walker and earn additional revenue from writing articles.

If investors are wondering where to write, I might suggest the same place your reading this article.

Option 4 - Start a vending business

The easiest way to start a vending business is to use gumball machines. You want to use gumballs because they offer much better margins. The typical gumballs should run between $0.018 and $0.023 per gumball. That’s not a bad deal if you’re selling at $0.25.

You don’t want to buy new machines. Start with a small handful of machines purchase off Craigslist. You can find used equipment for 80% to 90% off on Craigslist. The goal would be to spend $200 or less and have at least 4 or 5 individual machines including stands. You want mostly metal machines. The plastic machines are garbage and they will fall apart.

It is important to point out that this option only works for retirees who enjoy being social. They will need to convince local businesses to allow them to place a machine there.

Option 5 - Drive for Uber

This is not a technique that will make retirees rich, but there is a huge benefit in the flexibility.

They can drive only when they feel like doing it. There is no mandatory schedule and if they wish to focus only on the highest paid hours they can do so.

Option 6 – Babysit

Babysitting is still generally better than working at Walmart (WMT). If the retiree can find the right customers, they will pay significantly more to have their children babysat by an adult rather than a teenager. Rates should be materially higher if you can tutor the child in English or math while babysitting.

Option 7 - Become the new head of ethics

Become the new head of ethics for Wells Fargo (WFC).It is probably a full-time gig, but given their prior scandals, it appears there isn’t much competent competition for the position.

Option 8 - Fix old vehicles

I’m not suggesting flipping vehicles. That is an exceptional amount of work. However, for the very handy individuals out there, there is some demand for people who can repair vehicles at a lower rate than the auto-mechanic shops.

Option 9 - Multi-level marking

I’m just kidding.

Multi-level marketing is terrible. Don’t do that. It’s a horrible idea.

If you need ideas that will be painful and unpleasant, consider donating plasma. It hurts and the pay is low, but it’s still better than multi-level marketing.

Option 10 – Become a superintendent

For retirees living in an apartment complex, look for a position as the superintendent. Performing some repairs around the apartment building may get you a better deal on rent. The apartment owners are always looking for people who are reliable and flexible. If that’s your cup of tea, it is a viable option. Perhaps, this should fall under reducing expenses.

Expenses

Let’s talk about some ways to save some money.

Option 1 – Switch phone services

Switch to Sprint (S) or T-Mobile (TMUS). Their networks are usually materially cheaper and I have had no difficulties with connections. The actual performance of each network will vary by city.

Option 2 - Cut cable television

It’s expensive and most things on TV are garbage anyway. Retirees who still want access to media can look at Amazon’s (AMZN) service, Amazon Prime, or Netflix (NFLX) as dramatically cheaper options.

Option 3 - Go to fewer restaurants

Simply not tipping your waiter is not a reasonable option. It is certainly not an option if you intend to show up at the same restaurant regularly. Don’t steal from the waiter.

Option 4 - Trade in that expensive car

If you’re still facing car payments, retirement will be much more difficult. You can sell the car on Craigslist and get a much cheaper vehicle also on Craigslist. Sure, the dealership may seem more convenient, but it also means a few thousand in lost capital on the trade. Car dealerships need to make a substantial amount of money and they do it off the customers. If you decide to buy a car off Craigslist make sure to get it checked out by a trusted mechanic before purchasing it. I’ve found the majority of used vehicles are in dramatically worse shape than the prior owner is willing to admit. It is much cheaper to get the vehicle inspected than to buy a lemon.

Option 5 - Look for a cheaper area to live in

The vast majority of retirees stated that the cost of living was a major criterion in determining where to live.

Option 6 - Cut out the gym membership

Remember, you’re already walking dogs for exercise. There’s no need to pay for a gym membership unless you are frequently using it. If you’re using it frequently, nice work!

Option 7 - Brew your coffee at home

It’s much cheaper than Starbucks (SBUX). It may be less convenient, but it will also have dramatically less sugar. If you watched how much syrup went into those specialty drinks, you would cry for the damage to your arteries.

Option 8 - Use your flexible schedule to your advantage

Vacations are dramatically cheaper during the off-season. If you can already afford a nice vacation, you may enjoy cruising. Several of the cruise stocks offer onboard credit to shareholders. That can reduce the expense of cruising. However, this is only viable for retirees who can afford to cruise.

Option 9 - Reduce your expenses for stock research

While the best research is almost never going to be free, there are several marketplace services that are dramatically less expensive than the current institutional services.

Option 10 - Adopt a dog

Remarkably, many people still pay money to puppy mills. You can get a great dog at the shelter for a very reasonable cost. These dogs often are already housebroken and can be wonderful companions. My rescue dog is adorable.

Protect your balance sheets

Many investors figure they need to maximize the income from their portfolio in the immediate future. To accommodate for not saving enough capital, they invest in stocks with yields in the mid-teens. They believe that they can earn high enough returns by simply taking on more risk. This is fundamentally wrong. Higher risk does not guarantee higher returns. If it did, it wouldn’t be risky.

Higher risk guarantees higher risk. That is the only thing it guarantees. That should be obvious because guarantees are pretty much the opposite of risk. However, I often see investors grabbing on to these ultra-high yield stocks and claiming that the price fluctuation doesn’t matter even as the price collapses 70%, 80%, or even 90%. Often around 90% they recognize that it was a terrible investment from the start. The solution is to focus on a much more sustainable yield. Something in the 4% to 5% range makes a great deal of sense.

Investors can get there by combining strong dividend growth stocks with a few preferred shares to pump up the total yield on the portfolio. You may have noticed most strong dividend growth portfolios have Apple (AAPL), AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), Procter & Gamble (PG), Coke (KO), 3M (MMM), Altria Group (MO), Philip Morris (PM), and many others. Currently, I believe MO and PM are on an exceptional sale.

For individual allocations to the REIT sector, I like Simon Property Group (SPG), AvalonBay (AVB), Equity Residential (EQR), Retail Properties of America (RPAI) and Sun Communities (SUI).

Those are just a few examples. Investors may want their portfolio to have a higher overall yield. In which case, I propose taking a look at preferred shares.

Preferred shares offer investors a high dividend yield with less risk than investing in the equity markets. My job is to find the best deal for readers. Some of the best preferred shares come from AGNC Investments (AGNC), Annaly Capital Management (NLY), Capstead Mortgage Corporation (CMO), and Taubman Centers (TCO). They all carry relatively low risk and come from strong companies within their sector. Here are the current yields of most of their preferred shares:

With an average yield around 7%, these preferred shares can materially raise a portfolios overall yield.

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Disclosure: I am/we are long AVB, EQR, MO, NLY-F, NLY-G, PM, RPAI, SPG, SUI, WMT. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: No financial advice. Investors are expected to do their own due diligence and consult with a professional who knows their objectives and constraints. CWMF actively trades in preferred shares and may buy or sell anything in the sector without prior notice. Tipranks: See ratings table.