6 Financial Literacy Tips for Seniors in Retirement

6 Financial Literacy Tips for Seniors in Retirement
  • Opening Intro -

    Retirement is an exciting time for many seniors.

    Going from working every day to having all the time in the world can be liberating — but also overwhelming.

    This is particularly true when it comes to finances.

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Many seniors live on a fixed income in retirement, and even if they don’t, they still have many financial matters to consider. That’s why financial literacy is pivotal for seniors who are concerned with maximizing their money in retirement.

With all the changes in the economy, how can seniors focus on financial matters? It’s not a simple answer, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Let’s break down the major financial stress and concern for seniors, and look at some clever and creative ways to address them.

Life Insurance

Having a good life insurance policy is essential to those who have families and need their debts paid off. If you’re shopping around, it’s a good idea to use an online estimator to help you figure out how much coverage you need.

The estimate will be based on your age, health, income, family members, and whether you need to cover funeral/burial expenses or any costs you may leave behind after you pass away. Simply put, life insurance can help reduce financial stress for your family.

Healthcare

Medicare is a huge benefit to many seniors, but not being prepared for gaps in its coverage can be a major financial setback.

For example, if you need specialized forms of care, your original Medicare plan may not be enough. That’s why many seniors opt for alternative coverage through a Medicare Advantage Plan.

You get access to Parts A and B (Original Medicare) in addition to other benefits. For example, many Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for dental and vision care as well as fitness memberships. Remember, understanding your premiums, copays and coinsurance associated with Medicare and Medicare Advantage is absolutely crucial for a senior’s financial well-being.

Home Maintenance and Value

There is home maintenance you can predict — like when you need a new roof — and other times when you get hit unexpectedly — like an HVAC unit needing to be replaced. For seniors, this can be a substantial financial hit. You can manage these financial burdens in several ways.

Obviously, looking to your savings is one option. Other seniors opt to take out a reverse mortgage, which gives them the cash in hand to make any necessary repairs.

And for older adults looking to make home modifications to address accessibility concerns, there are a number of grants and special loans available to help build wheelchair ramps, widen doorways, improve lighting, install non-slip flooring, and more.

Certain upgrades like an open floor plan and updated kitchen fixtures can increase the value of your home. If you’re looking to sell your home, it’s a good idea to maximize your home’s value to help you set the best list price.

If you’re planning to stay put, it’s still a good idea to find out how much your home is worth in case you do decide to sell in the future.

You can go online and enter your address to get a quick estimate of your home’s value. Certain real estate websites that offer this automated tool pull the information from listing databases to provide a figure that’s as accurate as possible.

Manage Your Market Expectations

Your investments are crucial to your retirement nest egg, but keep in mind the market isn’t a magical place where money just grows. There will be ups and downs. It’s also important to understand all the catches associated with investing your money.

For example, playing it safe may mean you aren’t able to access your dividends for a decade or more. And the market temperature can make a big impact on risk and return. It’s up to you to figure out a balance you are comfortable with, one that also helps you live your best life in your golden years.

other valuable tips:

Vacation

It’s your retirement, and you should live it up in your golden years! While your financial means may not accommodate staying in the Ritz-Carlton, a fixed income doesn’t mean you are fixed to one spot. There are many senior-only vacation programs that are affordable. For example, seniors can get a steep discount on an annual pass for National Parks, making it affordable to travel to see the majestic mountains of Yosemite, the geysers of Yellowstone, or the wildlife in the Smokies.

Social Security

Navigating Social Security is a layered process. There are a lot of nuances that seniors who collect (or are planning to collect) need to consider. For many seniors, waiting to claim their benefit is more lucrative than jumping on it as soon as they can. Others might benefit more from tapping into spousal benefits.

Understanding the ways to maximize your benefits is key; more than half of seniors say their Social Security is their main source of income in retirement. Planning how to make the most of that benefit is the foundation to strong financial literacy in your golden years.

Financial literacy may seem stressful, but the more you know about your funds, the less likely your stress will build up. Being aware of your situation and how to grow your finances will help your golden years shine.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Consumer Tips reference:

GUIDE: payoff your mortgage fast

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