It’s tax season and whether you are still working and saving for retirement or enjoying the fruits of your labor, reviewing your money habits in detail can provide an ideal springboard into a quick financial tune-up. Everyone enjoys saving a few dollars where they can and by taking one week to look at your spending, monthly bills and savings, you can set financial priorities to better enjoy the things that matter most.
Start by taking a close look at your credit card statements. Are there unnecessary monthly subscriptions to video streaming services, gym memberships or magazines you don’t read? Could you find a better way to spend $120 than on that daily $4 cappuccino? Other questions you can ask yourself to trim your budget: Are you using all the seniors’ benefits available to you? Is it time to ditch the landline or contact your internet provider to see if you are getting the best deal? Are you getting your best possible rates on auto, home or life insurance? It may be worth making a few phone calls to find out!
In older age, prescription medications can eat up a fare share of a monthly budget. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to see if there are less expensive or generic options or if any of the drugs or supplements you have been taking are still considered beneficial. Some pharmaceutical companies also offer programs that provide discount drug cards for people in need.
While it’s a grandparent’s prerogative to spoil their grandkids, it’s important to protect your own money for retirement and not be overly generous with adult children or grandchildren. Protecting your assets also includes being on the alert for financial fraud, staying current on money matters and including trusted loved-ones in financial planning.
For those who are still working and saving for retirement; are you maximizing your tax-free savings contributions? According to Fidelity Investments, you should reach retirement age with savings of at least 10 times your last full year’s work income. Many underestimate their needs in retirement; it’s important to consider your lifestyle, fixed expenses and possible medical costs.
It’s always a good practice to know your credit rating, pay down any debt and ensure you have an emergency fund in case of unexpected expenses like car repairs, family emergencies or a medical crisis. It’s still recommended that adults have enough savings to cover six months of living expenses but many Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and can be hard hit by an unexpected emergency.
There are many more strategies for keeping your finances in their best shape possible, these are only a few and a financial advisor can help with more complex planning. It is also a good idea to walk a loved-one through your financial affairs and keep your financial files where family can access important information (including passwords) easily in case of an emergency.
For more financial tips for older adults, follow this link to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.