14 Tips for Seniors to Save After Retirement
Retirement is the goal we all work towards. We put in our time at our jobs and dream of the day we can finally relax, spend time with family, and travel.
But retirement today looks different than retirement 20 or 30 years ago. The number of people retiring is increasing while their retirement savings are in steep decline. In fact, most retirees don’t even know how much money they’ll need to save to safely retire.
Retirement may seem scary now, but it doesn’t have to be! There are a few easy tips you can follow to save money after you’ve retired.
1 – Work Part-Time
We know. The whole appeal of retiring is that you don’t have to work anymore! But, if you have a little bit of free time and want to earn some extra money on the side, pick up a part-time job. Even a few hours a week could help keep you financially secure.
An added benefit of part-time work is now days, you don’t even have to leave the house to do it! You can answer calls from home, input data for companies, or sell your own products or services. There’s a lot more flexibility with part-time work and you can take full advantage of it.
2 – Consider All Social Security Options
It’s very tempting to start drawing on your social security as soon as you’re allowed. But, you can earn 8% more for every year you delay drawing out your social security benefits. And you can delay up until the age of 70.
If you’re in a position where you can comfortably delay taking out your social security, this is a great tip for having more down the line.
Another social security option is available for married couples. If you and your spouse both have the option to draw out social security, it pays for the higher earner to delay and suspend contributions. The lower earner can then claim a spousal benefit. This way, you save money, but still get to draw on your benefits.
3 – Create a Tax Plan
Taxes, unfortunately, will never retire. Which is why even when you’re not working, you have to have a plan for how to pay your taxes.
The biggest tip for saving when it comes to taxes is to be careful how much you make. If you’re not careful, you could be stuck paying tax on your social security.
If you’re also pulling from your IRA or 401(k) and what you earn puts you over a certain threshold, you might owe more in taxes than expected. So keep an eye on that threshold to save yourself money.
4 – Downsize
Owning a home is another goal for most retirees. But, if you have too much house for this new stage in life, it might be time to move into something smaller. A smaller home doesn’t mean sacrificing your comfort. It will, however, mean smaller utility and tax bills.
And downsizing doesn’t only have to be about houses. If you have multiple vehicles, but no longer need all of them, consider selling what you’re not using.
Think of downsizing as simplifying for this new stage in your life.
5 – Move
Going hand-in-hand with downsizing, moving is another opportunity that help seniors save for retirement.
If you’re living in area with a high cost of living, moving to an area with a lower cost of living could make sense for you. This is especially true if you own your home and can purchase a smaller, cheaper home in your new location.
If you can move to an area that costs less and be closer to friends and family, downsizing is definitely worth the consideration!
6 – Lock-Down Your Guaranteed Income
When it comes to guaranteed income programs, you need to be careful (check out tip #14 for more). However, there are smart, safe ways you can set up a guaranteed income stream to cover your basic necessities in retirement
While this is a great tip to save yourself some money during retirement, make sure you’re only using a portion of your money for guaranteed income.
7 – Look at Government Programs
There are so many government and nonprofit programs created to help seniors as they retire. Unfortunately, many of these services are unknown and go untapped!
Spend a little time searching for government and nonprofit programs in your area that could give you added assistance in the years to come. Whether it’s in-home medical services, grocery delivery, or help around the house, it pays to take advantage of the services out there.
8 – Use Senior Discounts
A great and often overlooked benefit of being a senior is you can find senior discounts almost everywhere. The key is to make sure you’re asking for them.
As you ease into your retirement, start making it a habit to ask for senior discounts. The simple act of asking for one could help you save on everything, from car insurance to your meal at your favorite restaurant.
9 – Travel Smart
If you’re like the majority of retirees, you want to spend your hard earned free time traveling. While vacations can get expensive, the good news is with a few tips, you can save money and still travel.
As you begin to plan your trips in retirement, compare costs between peak times and shoulder seasons. You have flexibility that most young people don’t, so use your open schedule to travel when everyone else has to be at work or in school.
Look for house-sitting sites to see if you can get paid to vacation in areas that interest you. Avoid expensive hotels and stay at home rentals. Even better, avoid the more common and expensive tourist traps and spend time with locals to really experience where you’re traveling.
And if you want to travel for practically nothing, consider travel volunteer programs that offer tax-deductions.
10 – Dine In
One of life’s biggest temptations is to avoid the kitchen and eat or order out for your meals. However, as a retiree spending more time at home, you can pick up a hobby and save money by dining in.
Take the time to get excited about cooking new dishes and experimenting with different techniques at home. Make a list of your favorite restaurant meals and recreate them with your partner or friends. Take a cooking class and use what you’ve learned to make eating at home just as exciting as eating out. It’s fun and it can save you money.
11 – Stay Healthy
It’s very expensive to be sick.
One of the best ways to keep your expenses down during retirement, especially those dreaded medical expenses, is to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Put in the effort now to watch what you eat and get active. Not only will diet and exercise make you feel better now, they’ll also keep you healthier throughout your retirement.
By taking care of your body now, you could save yourself huge expenses in a few years.
12 – Get the Most Out of Your Credit Cards
We all know that credit card debt is something to avoid. However, when done well, you can get so many awesome benefits from your credit card points.
Begin by taking a look at what benefits you get with your current cards. Then plan out the best ways to utilize those benefits. If you’re not impressed, don’t be shy about checking out one or two additional cards.
For those with the goal of traveling in retirement, a credit card that offers miles or other travel perks is an option to consider.
13 – Learn More about Investing
This tip isn’t to say you need to go out and throw all your money into an investment. Quite the opposite. If you want to save for retirement, it’s important to make smart investing choices. Leaving your money in the bank won’t help you earn more and inflation can quickly eat away at your funds.
Take your hard earned free time and learn more about how to smartly invest your money.
You have the time now to take classes and listen to lectures by professionals on the smartest way to make your money work for you. Use that time!
But, if you’re seriously considering investing your money, check out Tip #14.
14 – Hire a Financial Professional
Sometimes it costs money to save money.
A financial advisor can help you get any debt under control, help you understand your spending habits, and even help create a realistic budget for your retirement.
With a little bit of professional help, you can find the right investments, the best savings programs, and even learn about tax benefits for seniors. A financial planner can help you plan for your retirement with a thoroughness that is difficult for the average person.
When looking for a financial advisor, make sure you look for fee-only planners. They’ll have your best interest in mind and won’t try to push any additional services or products on you.
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