Getting older often presents a new set of changes and challenges in the lives of those affected. You’ve most likely spent most of your adult life living near your financial means, saving for the day you might retire. But now that you’ve reached this pinnacle age, you might be asking yourself if you should make any changes to the way you handle money.
The answer boils down to how much you have managed to save over your lifetime, as well as how much you have invested, what types of investments you made, whether you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Many seniors find themselves on a tighter budget as they reach retirement age, as they are no longer gainfully employed and rely on government assistance and what they put away for retirement.
Essential Financial Planning Tips for Seniors
1) Don’t stop saving
Saving money is always a good idea, no matter what your age is. You might be thinking that you saved your whole life, so now it’s time to enjoy the fruit of your labor. But you still need those funds to financially support you throughout the rest of your life. Remember, you’re no longer gainfully employed, so whatever you saved can be rapidly depleted if you’re not careful.
2) Pay your bills on time
If you’re on a limited budget, the worst thing you can do is rack up late fees because you didn’t pay the bill. The average person spends up to $600 per year on past due to charges. Most people on a limited budget would tell you that every penny saved matters.
3) Cut things you don’t need
This is a difficult but necessary task. If you find yourself continually falling behind and paying late fees, then you should consider letting go and selling items that you don’t need. Make a list of your monthly expenses and total income from all sources. Do the math and determine how much money is left over. From there you’ll know for sure whether or not it’s time to reduce expenses.
4) Reevaluate your assets each year
If you have valuable assets, it’s likely that you’re also paying for insurance to cover theft and damage. Sometimes the value of your assets will drop and you end up paying a lot more money to the insurance company than you need to.
5) Consider moving into a senior care facility
Do you still live in your large family home, despite the kids moving out? Maybe it’s time to move into a senior living facility so you no longer have to worry about things like repairs on your home, cutting the grass, and higher taxes/utilities. These all cost money and can be eliminated from your budget by making a change.
6) Join your local senior center
Every senior has a different vision of the perfect retirement. While some enjoy the thought of relaxing on the porch and watching the world go by, others want to continue to be a very active part of that world. Sometimes, the more active and social a senior wants to be, the more they will spend. Becoming a member of your local senior center will expose you to discounts on popular local activities and is a very affordable way to keep up your socializing.
7) Focus on saving, not spending
During your working life, you likely concentrated on saving for your retirement. That mindset shouldn’t shift the minute you leave the working world. Now is not the time to start focusing on depleting your hard-earned money, but instead focus on maintaining your savings throughout the rest of your years. If you treat your retirement savings with respect and manage your money carefully, you can help ensure a long and comfortable set of golden years for yourself and your spouse. Learn more about how landmark can help you with financial planning.
8) Decide if you need help from an expert
A financial advisor could be of great assistance if you need specific questions answered quickly and correctly. However, be careful when selecting an advisor. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there are more than 50 senior designations used by financial advisors, and these can all have varying degrees of quality. These designations cover training and standards. You can learn more about these designations at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority website at finra.org.
9) Develop a spending plan for your retirement
Having a plan in place for your money and limiting all your expenses is extremely important. You can always find ways to cut costs and put those savings into an account where it can gain interest or at least keep it from being spent. Some things you can do are argue for better interest rates on outstanding loans, refinance your mortgage, carpool on grocery trips, and lower your air conditioning whenever possible.
10) Look for discounts and deals wherever you go
For consumers over a certain age, there are plenty of financial institutions that offer breaks on the cost of bank products and services. But even if your bank offers a special deal for seniors, you may be able to do better with another institution or with another type of account at that bank. Do some comparisons between different institutions. Banks and other businesses may be willing to negotiate with respect to fees or other items, so make sure to inquire about everything and show them other institutions that may be offering better deals.
11) Turn a hobby into a money maker
If you have a side interest or hobby that you would like to invest more time in, you should consider turning it into a profit. Perhaps you like carving birdhouses or chairs, or maybe you experience in an industry and would like to consult. There are plenty of ways you can turn your skills and interests into a profitable side hobby well into adult age.
12) Use credit cards with caution
Accumulating debt is a costly burden that can gradually grow to overwhelm you. Many seniors mire themselves in considerable credit card debt because they left balances unpaid, accrued late charges, or just simply forgot about cards. Before making a purchase, consider what card you are going to use, and always make sure to monitor your credit to ensure a bad balance is not tanking your credit score.
At Landmark Senior Living, our goal is to create the utmost in independent living for every one of our senior housing residents. Our independent living program is tailored to each individual’s needs and includes robust daily exercise, yoga, & strength training classes available for senior fitness enthusiasts. At Landmark, you’re making an investment that will serve you for the rest of our life.
COO @ Landmark Senior Living
Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Senior Living, a series of top rated Assisted Living Facilities in the midwestern United States. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years and graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Matthew and the team at Landmark are dedicated to creating a supportive environment for the elderly.