When planning for expenses in retirement, you should also consider the time when you can no longer drive. On average, men outlive driving by six years, women by ten. That is too long to be dependent on favors from family and friends. Yet few people plan ahead for the conditions that may force the end of driving and the consequences involved. There can be significant costs associated with getting to the doctor, picking up groceries, and other independence issues.
Planning ahead for this time should involve access to public transportation. Many senior communities provide access to city buses, trams, and subway systems. If you cannot afford a taxi and if public transportation is not convenient, consider using local programs called supplemental transportation programs (STPs). AAA sponsors a website called SeniorDriving.AAA.com, which maintains a searchable database of local STPs.
Most STPs are staffed by volunteers and are not affiliated with any government agency. Many are funded by private donations and grants. They are low-cost, community-based transportation services for seniors.
The Independent Transportation Network® (ITN) is another organization that provides a transportation solution for America’s seniors. Older adults who join ITN become dues-paying members of a non-profit organization committed to their independence and mobility. Seniors may trade in their vehicle for ride credits, providing a way to pay for their membership with an asset they no longer need.
Most importantly, you need to know when it’s time to give up your license. You should plan to have your driving performance assessed regularly after age 65 in order to be a safe driver as long as possible. Driving assessments fall into two categories: driving skills evaluations and clinical assessments. A skills evaluation checks your abilities and can help make you a better driver. Clinical assessments examine medical issues that may affect your driving. You can get a driving skill evaluation through AAA, who has club-owned and approved driving schools in many locations.