After diligently saving and managing your money through your working years, it can be tempting to take your foot off the gas and let your finances take a backseat once you retire. After all, you’ve finally reached retirement – what’s left to plan for? However, for women, who statistically have longer retirements, careful financial planning is crucial if you want to enjoy your retirement in its entirety. This is especially the case for women who are hoping to age in place.
The tips below are designed to help you make the most of your golden years when you want to remain in your home and live independently.
Budget, Budget, Budget
If you thought you could leave your budget behind once you left the workforce, think again. Budgeting may not be fun, but it’s incredibly effective at ensuring you’re not overspending. Too often, seniors stop tracking their money in retirement and then find themselves financially stressed later on because they got careless or overspent. Give your future self the gift of financial security by setting a budget early on in retirement and sticking to it. After all, you won’t be able to remain independent and age in place if you outlive your money.
Simplify Your Finances
As you’re building your budget, now is a great time to streamline all your finances, as well. Keep the future you envision for yourself in mind; if you hope to age in place and continue taking care of your own finances and paying your own bills, it’s smart to streamline and simplify things now for your future self.
Making the leap from paper to electronic banking can make managing your finances much easier by allowing you to automate cash flow and bill payments. Try scheduling all your bill payments and deposits to happen on the same day of the month so you can avoid any overdue bills or missed payments. Additionally, think about ways you can bundle some of your bills or join a pre-determined payment plan. For instance, many utility companies offer a payment plan that spreads your average cost throughout the year so that you’re charged the same monthly amount regardless of usage. This can make it easier when you’re building out your budget.
Solidify Your Estate Plans
Many people start thinking about finalizing their estate plans when they make a big move like downsizing their home or moving into a senior living facility. However, if you plan to age in place you may not feel an urgent need to tackle your estate planning. Of course, although none of us want to think about our inevitable end, the reality is that the day is coming. When it does, you want your estate plan and corresponding paperwork in place. The earlier you can tackle this task, the better you’ll feel about being prepared for the unexpected. Don’t forget to appoint a durable financial power of attorney who you trust to take over your finances should you become unable to. Having a trusted individual who can help you continue to manage your finances is a helpful step when you want to remain in your home and age in place.
Stay On Alert for Financial Scams
You probably know that senior citizens are more likely to be targeted for financial scams. Taking the steps now to set up protections for yourself can make it harder for scammers to succeed. Most banks provide the option to contact you any time there’s a large withdrawal so that you’ll always be notified before money leaves your account in a lump sum. You can also allow your power of attorney access to your financial accounts so that there’s always a second pair of eyes looking over everything. Mostly though, be wary of any suspicious telephone calls or emails with links you’re unsure of – especially if they’re asking for personal information.
If you’re unsure of any communication, ask someone you trust for help. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you lose all or a portion of your nest egg to a scammer, you may not be able to live out your later years in the way you envision.
Utilize Available Government Programs
One of the benefits of being a senior is that you’re more likely to have paid your house off, which can be incredibly beneficial for women looking to age in place. Not only is not having to pay a mortgage a benefit, but many states offer tax relief to homeowners who meet eligibility requirements. There’s also a senior property tax exemption for anyone 65 years or older that can boost your savings, as well. To see if you may qualify for any local, state, or federal tax benefits, visit Benefits.gov.
Keep in mind that, though some benefits may seem small, they can add up to truly meaningful savings over time. And, when it comes to remaining in your home and a desire to age in place, you can use cost savings and tax savings to make improvements to your home that will allow you to remain there comfortably and safely as you get older.
Revisit Your Insurance Plans
As you organize your finances and transition into retirement, chances are you’ll need to revisit any insurance policies you hold. As you’re building your budget, talk with your provider about other policies that may better serve you if you find that your premiums don’t fit. Don’t forget that many insurance companies offer the option to pay for your policy on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis, and they often provide discounts for annual payments if that works better with your financial situation.
Are You Making a Plan to Age in Place?
Whether you’ve spent many years turning your house into a home, or you’ve recently found your dream house, many women have a goal to age in place. If you’d like to do so, it’s important to have a financial strategy that serves your needs now and into the future.
At Flourish Wealth Management, our team is dedicated to empowering women to live the lives they imagine – especially in retirement. Please contact us today if you think you may benefit from a conversation with one of our advisors. We look forward to hearing from you!