Budgeting Advice for Seniors on a Fixed Income
For seniors living on a fixed income, budgeting while trying to enjoy the golden years can be tricky. However, there are ways to cut back on daily living costs to help ease financial stress without missing out on the things you love. Some seniors even turn to part-time work as a way to pad their bank account. Consider the following suggestions if you’re looking to find the right balance.
There are plenty of ways to cut back on your spending, whether it’s buying a new brand of toilet paper or limiting trips to the grocery store. Other options require more commitment, such as selling your home to eliminate house maintenance costs.
Owning a home can be more expensive than renting because you’re responsible for all the maintenance costs. If you own your home and those costs have become unmanageable, consider selling it to find an affordable rental with reliable landlords. Depending on how much you still owed on your home, you’ll have an influx of cash from the sale, and you’ll save money each year on maintenance costs and other home-related expenses.
If you don’t want to sell your home, you may be able to refinance your mortgage to lower your monthly payments. According to a 2018 survey, almost half of Americans between the ages 60 and 70 still have a mortgage payment when they retire, and 17 percent don’t expect to ever pay it off. If you’re not ready to downsize and cash flow is an issue, paying off your mortgage quickly isn’t necessarily beneficial. Refinancing can help increase your monthly budget, without the stress of moving.
Everyday budgeting tips such as altering your spending habits and weekly errands can help add up to more savings each month. Make a detailed food plan and try going to the grocery store only once a week. Not only will you be saving money on extra shopping trips, but you’ll also save money on fuel to get there.
As you age, it’s also important to consider future outcomes such as medical needs and any potential associated costs. You want to be prepared in the event that your mobility or living situation changes.
Earning money on the side
For many seniors, retirement almost feels too quiet. If this is the case for you, consider looking into part-time work that helps you feel productive and provides extra cash each month.
Finding freelance work is a great option for seniors who want to work from home with flexible hours. For example, there are plenty of freelance editing and writing jobs out there, and you can typically set your own rates for hourly work. Or, if you once worked as a notary public and kept your license, you can use this to offer freelance notary services for different industries such as insurance, government, finance, and real estate. Check online job boards for a variety of opportunities and to connect with potential clients.
For some seniors, a part-time job is a great reason to get out of the house. If you’re more comfortable being around people than in front of a computer, consider getting a job as a cashier, tutor, or coach. Or, if animals are more appealing than humans, you could get work as a dog walker.
Golden years on a budget
Even if you’re budgeting, you can still enjoy your golden years by taking up free or low-cost hobbies and going on budget vacations. A few budget hobby ideas include gardening, volunteering, joining a book club, and walking or hiking. Aim for hobbies that get you outside and interacting with people or animals. Remember, it’s good to stay social through your golden years.
If you’re on a fixed income, you don’t need to feel like you’re painted into a corner. There are plenty of ways to save money without compromising your quality of life. Start food planning to save on trips to the grocery store, and pick up some low-cost hobbies that also get you outside and socializing. And, consider getting a part-time job or side gig as a freelancer if you want to earn a little extra each month. With a few changes here and there, you can continue to enjoy retirement to the fullest.
Planning and Preparing for Long-Term Care: Tips for Seniors
Planning for long-term care isn’t an easy thing to do. Few of us want to think about being ill or dealing with the financial end of finding good care when we need it, and it can be overwhelming to think about what the costs will be. While no one can predict the future, it’s still possible to plan for your long-term care needs and prepare yourself for the realities of it. One of the keys is to think about your current lifestyle and what kind of changes you can make to ensure that your future health and safety won’t be an issue.
You can also start saving money and thinking about the financial end. You may not have an exact number when it comes to how much you’ll need, but you can do some research into the costs associated with hospital stays, extended visits to an assisted living facility, and how much Medicare or Medicaid will pay for. Being prepared will prevent any nasty surprises.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to plan and prepare for your future needs.
Think About Life Insurance, Savings, and Investments
It can be stressful to think about paying for your future needs; many seniors have savings or receive benefits on a monthly basis, but many of them still fear that they won’t have enough to sustain them from month to month after retirement. Look at your savings, investments, and Social Security benefits to get an idea of how much you have set aside, and consider selling a life insurance policy to bulk up your savings account. Not only can this help you pay for long-term care if Medicare doesn’t cover everything, but it can also aid in taking care of medical bills and keep you out of debt. Just keep in mind, however, that your policy will be reduced.
Take a look at your current lifestyle. What can be changed now that will positively affect your future health? Quitting smoking, getting daily exercise, eating well, and making changes to your home to increase your mobility are all great places to start. Your home should be both comfortable and safe — now and 10 years down the road. Look for trip hazards to prevent falls and make modifications such as installing grab bars in the shower. Another way to reduce your chances of falling is to work on strengthening your body. If you’re a senior with a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have access to fitness facilities around the country through Silver Sneakers. Check your coverage to see if you’re eligible.
You can also consider downsizing if your home is large or has stairs that could become an issue down the road. If you choose to sell your home, you’re usually better off enlisting the help of a real estate agent. A qualified agent can help you stage your home, decide on a price, and market the home.
It’s also a good idea to take a look at your family history. Are there any illnesses or diseases that you may be predisposed for? Cancer, diabetes, and heart issues can run in the family, so talk to your loved ones and get a physical to make sure you’re in the best health you can be in. This will also help you make changes that will benefit you later in life.
Write out a living will and have a lawyer help you finalize it. This way, you can appoint someone to be your power of attorney in the event that you can’t make decisions for yourself down the road, and you can plan out what you want as far as care or end-of-life arrangements go.
Planning and preparing for long-term care and possible future needs can be a big job, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make lists of all the things that you need to take care of and cross off each item as you go so you can stay organized. Having a good plan will help you feel in control and will ensure that nothing gets overlooked.
June Duncan 💚 firstname.lastname@example.org