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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.

HOW TO SURVIVE FINANCIALLY AS A SENIOR CITIZEN

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!


HOW CAN SENIORS BE FINANCIALLY SECURE?

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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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much for stopping by and glad it made sense, MrTrustStore.

    • MrTrustStore profile image

      Randall Kaiden 

      7 years ago from Oxnard & Santa Clarita, CA

      This subject comes up a lot on my blog, The California Senior News. You've done a great job putting it all together here. Nice work!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Micky.....thanks for pedaling by and I guess your real estate has to be your bike then?

      Darski - thanks as always for being so kind~

      Hanna - thank you dear for stopping by~

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Wow, Audrey, you covered every financial situation in life.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Bravo really this is a fantastic hub, you are so good at this...your research and showing where to find them is really great, you break it all down in a wonderful way. You are simply awesome...love you darski rate up

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Great advice dear akirchner. I wish I had an estate. I wish I had a real state. I wish I had some real-estate.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Simone but staying fit across the board in my humble opinion is a well rounded (hopefully not physically ha ha) person!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      You make an excellent point about keeping fit - staying physically (and socially, for that matter) active at any point in one's life can really help keep one's mental and physical health up, and save TONS of money!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Elayne....I have already planned that I'll be sitting here until I'm at LEAST 80 - good lord! I am 58 (though my son keeps saying I'm 60...what's up with that?) but I don't like thinking about all those (many more) years down the tunnel though I suspect it's better than the alternative, eh?

      We could get really, really lucky though and win the lottery!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!!

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 

      7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      We just figured we will have to keep working until we are 70. Hope we live that long! So many things can drain the bank these days. Good intentions do not always work out - as we have seen by the market ups and downs. Now they say we have to work longer, too? Guess next they will just say you have to work until you die and that there is no money for us oldies...

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Fiddleman for stopping by - it's tough out there for seniors!

      Christopher....Thanks and I hear you on that score!!!

      Travelman - I wish you well in your retirement. I'm not sure where it'll all go here in the states as Social Security evaporates and the age of retirement gets higher and higher!

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      My SSS is my main source of money when I retire. I have this mutual fund thing, but the dividends wll be given to you as lump sum. That's what happens here in the Philippines.

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 

      7 years ago from Vermont, USA

      Good set of recommendations in this hub. Wish I had read it 20 years ago!

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 

      7 years ago

      Great hub filled with some good advice

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