Age Your Way: 5 Tips to Manage Today’s Financial Challenges
While each retiree’s dream might be different, today’s senior citizen typically looks forward to making time for family, hobbies, and travel. Today’s rapidly rising prices might cause seniors to put those dreams on hold.
It’s understandable why seniors might feel anxious. A recent NFCC and Wells Fargo poll showed that 62% of Americans are more worried about meeting basic household expenses compared to 12 months ago.
Here are five tips that can help seniors even in the midst of rising prices and financial uncertainties:
1. Create or revisit the household budget.
Is there a realistic plan for the income that comes in each month? Be sure there is a line item in the monthly budget for key living expenses like housing, groceries, healthcare and medications, car maintenance, gas, and savings.
If seniors haven’t been following a budget, take time to create one, no matter how simple, to track expenses in order to go back, review, and adjust as needed.
2. Take a critical look at spending.
Most people find they are spending more on the essentials -- housing, healthcare, food, insurance, utilities and transportation.
Consider temporarily reducing spending on traveling, gifts, restaurants or other discretionary expenses.
Are any significant purchases on the horizon? Is it possible to postpone major purchases like an appliance or other large item? If a washing machine or other appliance needs to be replaced in the coming months, try to set aside cash now so when the time comes to replace it, using credit isn’t the only option.
Shop smart at the grocery store. Plan meals and stick to your shopping list. Stock up on staples. Use coupons and discounts. Take advantage of discount gas prices, bulk grocery prices and other low prices available from membership stores.
3. Consider supplementing monthly income.
Is monthly cash outflow greater than monthly income? Consider supplementing income with part-time work or a side hustle. Use career skills for freelancing, consulting, or contract work. See what’s possible through websites like Steady, or many others.
Turn a hobby into an income stream – writing, crafting, photography, art, or cooking and baking. Become a Lyft, Uber, or DoorDash delivery driver. Consider temporary work as a customer service representative, childcare worker, house or pet sitter, or an online tutor.
4. Look at housing options.
Many seniors are looking to sell their homes at today’s high home values and buy a smaller home (with lower utility costs, property taxes, and insurance), or relocate to a less expensive area.
A reverse mortgage is an option available to homeowners aged 62 and older to borrow against their home’s equity without having to make monthly mortgage payments. Seniors can choose to take funds in a lump sum, line of credit, or through structured monthly payments.
A reverse mortgage can be a sensible option for seniors with sufficient income to cover basic expenses, including property taxes and insurance, who want to stay in their home.
5. Get a handle on debt.
Many seniors find it hard to manage rising prices when struggling with high credit card debt or other debt. The longer a borrower carries a high interest credit card balance, the bigger bite it takes out of available monthly income.
Consider a debt payoff strategy, such as a Debt Management Plan which helps pay off unsecured debt, in full, in 3 to 5 years. A trusted national nonprofit agency like GreenPath Financial Wellness works with creditors to bring accounts current, lower interest rates, and waive fees. More of the monthly payment goes toward reducing your account balance and you save money on interest.
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