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Monday, July 12, 2021

Six Tips for Seniors Dealing With Financial Troubles


For seniors, retirement can come with personal finance challenges. Some struggle to adjust from working full-time and earning a hefty salary to living on a fixed income. Others may not have had the opportunity to save as much for retirement as they would have liked, and once they leave their jobs, they have trouble paying their bills. And while these issues are common, many seniors feel embarrassed about asking their loved ones for help.

Thankfully, seniors who are dealing with financial troubles have options and places to turn to for guidance. Whether you’re interested in seeking assistance from a qualified financial professional or you’d like to revise your budget and boost your income with part-time work, these tips will help you feel confident about managing your finances.

1) Work with a Financial Consultant

If you feel truly overwhelmed when you think about personal finance, you don’t need to try navigating through financial decisions on your own. Instead, consider seeking out the services of a financial consultant who can help you with everything from paying down your debts to creating a realistic budget.

While you can work with a financial consultant that is employed by a firm, choosing a freelance consultant can lead to a more personalized experience. In order to choose a consultant who will understand your lifestyle and financial needs, you’ll want to check out his or her qualifications, background, reviews, prices, and the services the consultant offers. If possible, try to find a consultant that specializes in working with seniors — he or she will have an in-depth understanding of your situation!

2) Go Over Your Budget

Whether you have decided to hire a consultant or you would prefer to tackle your personal finance choices on your own, you’ll want to go over your budget before you make any other changes. If you don’t have a budget, you can create one by writing down how much income you get from specific sources each month, and then note your fixed and variable expenses on a spreadsheet or down on paper.

Next, analyze your spending on variable expenses, like groceries, utilities, and entertainment. Could you go to a cheaper grocery store and use coupons to save on food? Would you be able to switch to a new Internet or phone provider that offers cheaper rates? The Motley Fool also recommends replacing expensive hobbies with free or low-cost activities, like visiting museums that offer free admission, visiting the library, or going to free local concerts.

3) Downsize Your Home

Many seniors find that retirement is the perfect time to downsize. Perhaps you love your family home but maintaining a large property has become difficult. High bills for necessary home maintenance projects can eat into your budget, and you might have difficulty going up the stairs or navigating rooms with slippery flooring.

Downsizing and moving into a smaller home will help you save substantially every month. If you’ve decided that you’re ready to downsize, Farm Bureau Financial Services recommends decluttering every room and investing in some low-cost upgrades, like fresh paint and new bedding, to stage your home for potential buyers. Before you begin house-hunting, figure out how much space you’ll need and which features you want in your new home. For instance, if you love gardening or have pets that need room to play, you may want to move into a small home with a backyard. If you rarely have visitors and love to travel, consider buying a condo or apartment instead.

4) Secure Part-Time Work

Perhaps you have gone over your budget carefully and realized that you couldn’t reasonably cut any of your expenses without sacrificing your quality of life. Or maybe you do spend a lot of money on property taxes at your current residence, but you have no desire to downsize and move. If these scenarios sound relatable to you, you may want to consider working part-time. A part-time job will increase your income and grant you more flexibility. Working just ten to fifteen hours a week can make it much easier to cover all of your expenses!

5) Find Assistance

What if you’ve already done everything you can to cut expenses and bring in some extra money, but you’re still coming up short at the end of every month? It may be time to look for assistance. For some seniors, moving in with a loved one could be an option — this will allow you to drastically reduce your spending on housing costs and utilities. In addition, you can apply for assistance programs that provide financial support for low-income seniors.

Depending on your income and assets, you may qualify for Medicaid, which can help lower your healthcare spending. You might be eligible for food stipends or free meal deliveries. There are also public housing programs and home repair grants that are open to seniors. Get in touch with representatives of senior assistance programs to see if you might be a candidate and find out what paperwork you would need to submit to be approved.

6) Safeguard Against Fraud

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t become a victim of identity theft or fraud. People with bad intentions often target seniors in financial scams, and you can lose a chunk of your nest egg if someone gets access to your savings accounts. Talk to a trusted loved one or your financial consultant about signing up for identity theft protection services, and do not make any major purchases or big investments without talking to your consultant first. Taking a few simple precautions can give you peace of mind.

Many seniors worry about their finances in their golden years. The cost of living in retirement can be higher than anticipated and finding a way to live comfortably while spending less can take some time. With these tips, you can cut down on your spending, protect your assets, and even find a part-time job that grants you a little more wiggle room in your budget!

Do you need guidance when it comes to handling your finances in retirement? Find a trusted financial professional with a specialist focus on older adults through the Society of Certified Senior Advisor’s CSA Locator


About the Author
Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, built Elder Action after becoming caregivers for their aging parents.