Oversized recurring expenses are the enemy of a responsible retirement plan. (That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!) The culprits at the top of the recurring payment lists are mortgage payments and car payments. When I retire, I won’t have either, unless someone wants to offer me a loan at 0% interest.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at this table of cell phone cost trends. As you can see, the “big three” continue to ramp up the average monthly per user charge, with bills from Verizon now averaging over $153/month! That is ridiculous, particularly for a baby boomer thinking of surviving on a fixed income.
In comparison, I pay $22.50/month for unlimited everything, with no contract, using a top rated Android smartphone. Granted, that is for 3G data but I can change to 4G LTE data whenever I want (and back again) by paying another $15/month, pro-rated. I’ve discovered that I don’t have a need for 4G data speeds on a phone.
Baby boomers who are on a retirement glide path need to consider downsizing many aspects of their lives. Downsizing a cell phone plan can bring tangible rewards and does not always require downgrading the plan itself. It just means being curious about and open to alternatives.
There are lots of sites and articles on the web that will tell you which cell phone, provider, and plan is best for you. I am suspicious of most of those sites for a variety of different reasons. Some are supported by referrals from certain providers. Others don’t even bother to consider offerings from the lesser known service providers, which leaves many low cost alternatives off the table.
I found a brand new cell phone comparison site recently that appears to have more credibility than most. I think that because the editor’s ratings are consistent with my own research and experience. For example, the top rated plans are from Republic Wireless, which is my current provider. Straight Talk is number two on the list. Straight Talk is what I used for several years before switching to Republic Wireless in 2012. Maybe this is confirmation bias but this is something I have spent a lot of time studying because I am a technology geek who likes to save money.
Do I feel smug about paying $22.50 each month in comparison to the average Verizon user at $153? Not really. Instead, I feel bad for those Verizon users (and others) who are wasting $100+ each month which could be saved for retirement or spent on a nice vacation.
I also feel bad that most of the high end plans still don’t have all of the features of my low cost plan, such as unlimited data with no contract.
Here is the site where you can start your work on downsizing and upgrading your cell phone plan: Save On Phone