Helpful Tips for Seniors Living on Social Security Alone

By: VGFS
Friday, June 21, 2019

No one wants to spend their golden years worrying about money. Yet, having a significant amount of retirement savings stashed away just isn’t a reality for many Americans.

An estimated 21% of married seniors and 43% of single seniors depend on Social Security benefits for 90% of their income, according to the Social Security Administration. Living month-to-month is how a good portion of seniors get by. If you are relying on Social Security alone, follow the tips below to help maximize your payout and make your funds last longer.

Claim Social Security closer to age 70. If you haven’t applied for Social Security yet, try holding off on doing so for as long as possible. The Full Retirement Age (FRA) under the Social Security Administration is 66 or 67. Start drawing on Social Security at this age and you’ll receive 100% of your benefit. Wait longer and receive an annual increase of 8% until you turn 70. If you withdraw before FRA, you’ll pay a penalty. For example, if you file for Social Security at age 62, you’ll only receive 75% of your benefit for the rest of your life. If you can’t wait until 70 to collect Social Security, aim to reach FRA.

Create a budget. When we’re younger and working, budgeting isn’t always a priority. However, as we age and rely on fixed incomes, establishing financial limits is crucial. If you’re new to budgeting, doing so can feel restrictive at first. However, managing your money is ultimately empowering. For several weeks, track your spending, or look back at previous bills and statements for credit cards, utilities, etc. Once you know your typical monthly expenses, you can budget for the future. If you need help getting started, reach out to a budget-savvy loved one or friend for help.

Spend mindfully. Once you have a budget, it’ll become easier to reduce excessive spending. Create and stick to a shopping list. Take note of any impulse items that catch your eye, but don’t purchase them. Add up what you could have spent to see how much you’re actually saving. Once you become aware of your spending habits, you’ll know precisely where your money is going and will feel more in control of your finances.

Consider a move. If living in your current area is stretching your Social Security checks too far, you may need to consider moving to a new locale. Relocating can reduce your monthly expenses and boost your quality of life. Keep in mind that some areas are more senior-friendly than others in terms of taxes, cost of housing, and convenience to shopping and transportation. Check out The 10 Best Places to Retire With Affordable Housing for locations that you might consider.

Rent out a room. Do you have empty bedrooms in your home? Sharing living space has its benefits. Not only does it reduce your living expenses, but it also protects against isolation. Ideally, you should rent to a family member or family friend. Through your local senior center may also advertise older persons who are seeking a an affordable place to live.

Sell your car. If you’re homebound and keep your car around “just in case,” it may make more financial sense to sell your vehicle. AAA estimates that it costs $8,876 annually to own and operate a car. Yearly costs include insurance, maintenance, car payments, gas, parking, repairs, and registration--all of which add up. If you can live without owning a car, you can retain thousands of dollars. If aren’t sure, try public transportation out before you sell your car. Purchase a monthly pass and ask about senior discounts to save even more money using public transportation.

Make a long-term care plan. Our health is more likely to decline as we age, but senior living facilities can be very pricey. According to a GenWorth Cost of Care Survey, a one-bedroom in an assisted living facility costs an astonishing $45,000/year on average. Luckily, there are more affordable options. Seniors whose family caregivers work may need daytime care during the week. Enter adult day care. Currently, there are over 100 adult day care centers in Maryland alone. You can expect to pay $25-$75/day, but many nonprofit centers use a sliding scale. Contact your county’s Area Agency on Aging to discover the many valuable resources available to seniors, family caregivers, and adults with disabilities.

Know your benefits. There’s more to your healthcare than being eligible for Medicare at age 65. Seniors living on a limited income can tap into a wide range of benefits. For example, as of 2018, Maryland Medicaid subscribers can access free hearing aids and cochlear implants. Visit BenefitsCheckUp for information on receiving assistance with medications, employment, housing and more.

Living on a limited income isn’t easy but there are ways to make it more manageable. At Vaughn Greene Funeral Services, we strive to provide the best support and personal attention possible to you, your family, and our community. If we can be of service in any way, please contact us.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Funeral Trends to Watch in 2022: Five Things You Need to Know

The funeral industry has undergone major changes over the past two years. The pandemic forced everyone, including funeral providers, to do things differently, testing our collective resolve and a...

What’s Old is New Again: Seven Creative Uses for Family Heirlooms

Many of us have had to clear out a large family home and determine what to do with all the contents. What should become of your uncle’s massive grandfather clock or your great grandmother’s weddi...

Care Packages for a Grieving Family are a Loving Way to Show Your Support

When a friend or family member loses a loved one, they need all the support they can get. What’s the best way to demonstrate your concern? In addition to offering your sincere condolences, conside...

Holiday Health Webinar: Recording Available

Thank you to everyone who registered for our Holiday Health webinar on December 9th. With 86 registrants, we recognize this was an important topic for many in our community. For those who were unab...

Eight Heartwarming Memorial Ideas for the Holidays

When a loved one passes, the holidays are never quite the same. Whether the loss is recent or occurred years ago, parties, songs, and movies can all trigger grief at this time of year. You may be ...

Making a Memorial Video? Follow These Tips for a Beautiful, Touching Tribute

When a beloved family member or friend passes away, attendees come to not only mourn the loss but also to remember a life well-lived. If you’re looking to add a heartfelt touch to your loved one’s...

Can’t Afford a Funeral for Your Loved One? Consider These Helpful Solutions

Losing a loved one brings emotional turmoil and can cause financial hardship for the surviving family members. If you need to pay for a funeral but have no money for the expenses, take heart: you...

Holiday Health Event - December 9, 2021

Holiday Health: Coping with Depression, Anxiety & 'The Blues' You are invited to join us for this free virtual event.     Our guest speaker is Leslie Holley, MA, LCPC, NCC, a Boa...

Choosing a Cemetery Property? Here are Five Things Everyone Should

Burial planning requires careful thought and sound decision-making. As you embark on selecting a cemetery, it’s wise to arm yourself with as much information as possible. Below are some helpful ...

How to Plan a Touching Military Funeral for a Fallen Service Member

At Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Services, our legacy of service to others is a source of great pride. In times of loss, we are deeply honored to provide distinguished care for the brave men and women o...