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Advice For Seniors: How To Survive Financially

Updated on March 29, 2011

Even in these troubled economic times or rather especially in these troubled economic times, it is vital for all seniors or people approaching their senior years to take a close look at their finances.

We all can use help in hard times but it's most important for senior citizens to see how they can improve their future with some financial planning.

Let's take a look at some of the various (and relatively painless) ways to check the pulse of your financial plan and perhaps think of some new ways to ensure its health along the way.


In short, there are many things you can do as a senior or before you qualify as a senior to shore up your financial plan.

Planning ahead can save you headaches and financial strife down the road.

Take advantage of the many free services available to assist seniors in financial planning or check out sources at the library or on the Internet.

You simply can't go wrong with a sound financial plan for your aging future!


You must have a budget. This means that you should have an accounting of every single penny that comes in and every single penny that goes out. Itemize expenditures and bills due so you'll have a clearer picture of what you spend and when. Don't cheat! Make sure you include exactly how much you spend by category. That’s the only way to track how you can (if possible) cut costs.

Financial planners are free. There are many sources of obtaining a financial planner for free! This is shocking but true. You can find a multitude of resources for free on the Internet and request information from government sources. Most banks and lending institutions have financial planners who can sit down with you and go over your finances. They can give advice but also check into AARP, the IRS website, or contact your local Area Agency for Aging.

Stay fit as a fiddle. If you're not already fit as a fiddle, do the best that you can because one sure way to cut costs and keep your financial plan running smoothly is to be in good health. The money that you can save On medications and health costs will keep your financial plan healthy as well. It's never too late to take better care of yourself or get in shape!

Plan for the future. No one ever knows what might be around the corner at any age but as a senior and especially on a fixed income, it's important to know you have money put aside for emergencies or catastrophes. Always pay yourself and don't give up the habit of putting money aside for a rainy day just because you're a senior.

Retirement - Can you afford it? The simple fact is unless you know how much you need to "get by" and live the way you'd like, you won't know how much you need to make. And will you be able to make as much as you think you will? Will you have to add part-time income to supplant your projected income? It's also really important to make sure you understand the restrictions Social Security puts on earning money at certain ages so you don't end up disappointed and making less instead of more!

Keep an eye on your investments. Don't wait until you need them to check on the values of insurance policies, 401(k)'s, fixed annuities, CDs, etc. In this area, financial planners and their advice can be invaluable. Also attending seminars for senior financial planning can give you terrific advice pertinent to your situation. The Area Agency for Aging is a great source for free seminars and if they don't have one in your area, ask them to host one.

Pay your debts. Don't quit paying off even though you graduate to senior status. It's still important to pay off those debts and don't spend more than you know you can pay off or more than you make no matter what your income source.

Don't be a patsy. Make sure people don't take advantage of you financially. Money can't buy love and letting anyone deplete your savings or extra money is a bad policy. Giving away money won't make you any less lonely and anyone trying to talk you out of your money probably has an ulterior motive.

Have a will and plan for your estate. Along those same lines, also include in this plan your living will and advance directives. Make sure that you end up passing from this life with what you intended rather than having people haggle over your affairs or your money! By having a living will in place, you can also save yourself (or your surviving spouse) hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills if you have expressed your wish to die in case of catastrophic illness such as stroke or heart attack.

Social Security. Figure out what age you want to begin to collect Social Security benefits. When you do has a lot to do with how much you will make. It also determines how much you can make in addition to your Social Security monies. The minimum age is usually 62 to begin collecting but waiting until you are 70 may increase your income substantially. However, if you can't wait that long, then come up with other strategies to supplant your income but not lose out on the money you earn by making "too much". Your local Social Security office or their website can give you the caps on how much you can make and not pay taxes on. At some point, depending upon age, if you earn over a certain amount in addition to your Social Security income, you end up for a dollar earned, a dollar paid back to the government scenario. That hardly seems worth it so get the facts on how much you can earn!

Advice for Seniors: How to Survive Financially

It seems sometimes that the economy can be overwhelming and how will any of us make ends meet? 

Being a senior really is no different than starting out and being a young person trying to sort out budgeting and all the things that go along with living life the way you'd like to.

However, the difference for seniors is that they don't have as many options as young people because there are limitations on the jobs that they can take (let alone get hired for) and most seniors don't want to give up dollar for dollar what they earn past a certain limit.

Check out every option available to you (and I always suggest the free ones....because I'm a frugal girl) but don't leave any stone unturned on advice. 

Also do your homework and hopefully with much advice and some research, you'll end up in the financial "prime of your life!"


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