Sunday, February 27, 2011

Financial Planning for the Elderly

Many elderly Americans struggle to make ends meet due to their limited fixed income, increasing prices and inflation. Some elderly Americans file for bankruptcy, have to downsize their home, move in with family or friends or get a roommate to stretch their income.

According to Alliance to End Homelessness, in 2008, 43,000 elderly age 65 and over relied on the shelter system. According to AARP, an excessive amount of debt and increasing medical bills have caused bankruptcies among the elderly to increase by 150 percent from 1991 to 2007. The percentage is even higher for those aged 75 to 84 years of age. The highest costs for the elderly are medical bills, medical services, prescriptions, food and housing costs. Here are some tips on how to save money on a fixed income.

1. Invest in energy efficient light bulbs to save money on power bills
2. Improve home insulation to reduce heating and cooling bills
3. Use coupons when they truly represent a saving opportunity
4. Insulate hot water heater
5. Rinse clothes in cold water
6. Take luke warm baths or showers
7. Keep heat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, keep a/c at 78 degrees Fahrenheit
8. Keep hot water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit

Household goods
1. Watch for the items you use to go on sale and stock up when prices are at their lowest
2. Submit available rebate offers for products you use regularly
3. Buy generic vs. name brand
4. Bulk items on sale or “day old” items
5. Use coupons or shop at discount stores such as Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Costco, Wal-Mart or Target

1. Craigslist
2. eBay

1. Free Dental Clinics
2. Operation Blessing International, 800-730-2537
3. Ask about discounted Dental programs,, AmeriPlan, Aetna, Avia
4. Flat Fee clinics or sliding fee scale – search for “flat free clinic and the state you x”, x is the state you live in to find a clinic near you
5. Medicare supplement, 877-494-9296 Code: TIG
6. Prescriptions – buy generic, fill prescriptions at discount stores – Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens

1. Plan meals around items that go on sale or that are in season
2. Look for the items you use to go on sale and stock up
3. Comparison Shop
4. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry
5. Generic vs. name brand
6. Shop at the dollar store for household products, spices, packaged foods and other foods
7. Feeding America Food bank - 800.771.2303 (nationwide)
8. Meals on Wheels 703.548.5558 (nationwide)

1. Create an emergency fund – with enough money to cover expenses for 6-9 months
2. Downsize – downsize to a smaller home, trade in a luxury car for a cheaper model
3. Get Tax Preparation Assistance – VITA Volunteer Income Tax Assistance 1-800-906-9887
4. Needs vs. wants - buy more needs vs. wants
5. Reduce spending – don’t buy things you don’t need or just because something is on sale
6. Budget - Create a budget and track spending daily or weekly
7. Reduce expenses – use coupons, buy in bulk, buy on sale,
8. Debt – pay rent/mortgage, car payment first, then setup payment plans for collection accounts, judgments, tax liens, then everything else
9. Transportation costs – do you need a car, can you carpool or take public transportation
10. Insurance – do you have adequate health, life and disability

1. Reverse mortgage, 800-569-4287
2. Co-elderly housing, 812-618-2646 (nationwide)
3. Housing Information -,,,,,
6. Low income apartments –,

1. Aging Services Network - 202-872-0888 (nationwide)
2. Discounts -,
3. Aging Services -


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