Best Money Advice for Stressed Seniors

Will I outlive my resources?

The biggest worry for seniors today is whether they’ll outlive their money. It’s a reasonable concern. The options for retirement are numerous and varied. Retire early. Retire later. Delay social security. Move to a retirement community. Stay where you are and divide your time in several places. A winter home somewhere. A rental overseas. No wonder seniors are stressed. How does money fit into this picture?

The US Department of Labor Blog offers considerable advice on the subject of retirement. One relevant link states “it pays to understand how your savings and benefits work”. In fact, the www.dol.gov is one of the best resources for all things “money”. The website allows you to surf around and get information that includes charts, graphs and checklists for your own calculations. Tweaking the numbers and making critical changes to your saving and spending habits could give you considerable peace of mind, and allow choices you thought were closed.

Financial tips for women

Senior women have less money and more to worry about than men. When couples retire, they usually have joint investments, along with social security checks and possibly a pension. It’s likely that the pension is a benefit from the husband’s job.

It’s important to understand that pensions are retirement benefits – not death benefits. If the husband dies first, his pension usually stops. It’s also important to consider that health issues or other unexpected expenses may have diminished the savings meant for both of them.

One in four older senior women lives below the poverty line. Ten thousand Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. This will continue for 20 years. And only one-third of women 65 + years old is married. That’s a lot of older, single women!

Getting good, reliable and personal financial advice takes some research. Women usually were not given good – if any – advice about saving, investing and retirement planning. It was assumed that someone else – husband, father, brother or uncle – would “see to it that she was allright”. Today, companies are waking up. Women are earning, saving and handling their money. But it’ only a beginning. Much more needs to be done. Women need to know what men know.

A good way to find a professional financial planner who will teach you, not just “take care of it”, is to ask women for references. Women in business or friends who have their own accounts can give you some tips and a few names. In your initial conversation, stress that you want to learn the basics.

Websites are also excellent resources. Business sites, money blogs and Baby Boomer newsletters have current articles concerning the cost of living and your piggy bank.

Learning and Earning

Here’s the good news. There are many ways to increase your monthly income. The days when retirement meant NO MORE WORKING are over. Seventy-two percent of older people intend to work during retirement. Quit one job – start another. Often, that second job is already in place when the retiree actually quits.

Turning a hobby or craft skill into a business is a top choice for many seniors. Anything you make by hand can be sold on a website. Computer skills not so great? Youtube is the biggest and most versatile classroom around. There are literally thousands of videos, easy to follow, that will teach you enough to get started. Local colleges, organizations and businesses teach skills for computers, phones and ipads.

Skills you used on the job for many years may be converted into a teaching or coaching career. Pass along what you know to others, online or in a classroom situation. Libraries, community centers and local colleges are great places to look for opportunities to put together a learning experience. Usually, there are categories, from baking cupcakes to painting to carpentry. Choose the number of classes it will require for completion, what to charge and sign on.

There are franchises just for seniors to help other seniors. They are usually affordable to buy into, and the parent company is hands-on for long-term help. These may include moving advice, home health assistants (not medical), or businesses offering a variety of services. If you have some skills and/or an interest in learning, you can design your own business venue. Online or in person, just use your imagination. Pet walking/sitting, house cleaning, running errands or shopping may be exactly what you want.

Stress and anxiety

People who have had a regular paycheck their whole lives can find it extremely difficult to worry about money matters. Many individuals and couples do considerable planning before retiring, making sure they have all the bases covered. Despite that fact, things can go wrong. The economy can take a huge dip, health issues may arise, or family situations may throw a monkey wrench into the best of plans.

Losing sleep, getting headaches or ulcers or becoming depressed is not uncommon. Sometimes a little tweaking isn’t enough. It may be time to call in the professionals. Financial planners, counselors or legal advice may be necessary. Ask for help when you need it. There are pro bono people who can give you good advice. Professionals can also throw you a lifeline, and start you on the road to recovery. There are millions of older citizens today who are struggling to carve out a lifestyle that delivers enjoyment.

Resources at hand

Organizations you may already belong to are often packed with fun and affordable things to do. Take a look at the fine print or the offerings on their websites to see what’s going on. Travel, hobby/interest groups, sports, leisure and day trips abound. Get involved, get acquainted and get going. Socializing is a key component to your new life.

Seniors are living longer and healthier lives. It’s not just golfing and grandchildren anymore. Many people become expats and live abroad at least half of every year. Paris anyone? Today, you can live without a car (I did for 2 years), and get your walking quota in with no problem. Shopping online is becoming the norm, and a bicycle is considered a necessity for many folks.

Hey, this is something we look forward to for years. Embrace change and live your best life.

 

 

 

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