Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Financial Advice for Elderly on a Fixed Income


Many elderly Americans struggle to make ends meet due to their limited fixed income such as pensions, social security, disability benefits or other payments along with increasing prices and inflation. Many elderly Americans file for bankruptcy, go back to work, use a debt counseling agency, downsize their lifestyle, move in with family or friends, get a roommate or live in shared housing to make their dollar stretch farther.   

A 2010 study by the Homeless Research Institute, an arm of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, projected that the number of elderly people who are homeless would increase by 33%, from 44,172 in 2010 to 58,772 by 2020, and would double to 95,000 by 2050.

According to a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP Foundation, in 2010, 40% of baby boomers aged 65 or older still carried mortgage debt. Debts excluding mortgage, such as auto loans and credit card bills among this group averaged $7,200. The number of 65 or older living on less than $15,000 a year is projected to grow by 37%.

According to the Social Security Administration almost 75% of single Social Security recipients aged 65 and older depend on Social Security as their primary source of income if not the only source of income.  These statistics stress the need for financial planning for seniors to effectively manage their money and make their dollar stretch further during their retirement years. Here are some tips on how the elderly can save money on a fixed income.

  1. Reverse mortgage http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hecm/rmtopten.cfm
  2. Co-elderly housing http://abrahampaiss.com/ElderCohousing/
  3. Shared Housing http://www.voapa.org/Services/AffordableHousing/tabid/191/Default.aspx
  4. Home Sharing http://nyfsc.org
  5. Housing - http://www.seniorliving.com/, www.SeniorsForLiving.com, www.aplaceformom.com, SeniorLivingSource.org/Housing, SeniorOutlook.com, http://seniors.lovetoknow.com/Low_Income_Housing_for_Seniors_and_Elderly, http://www.seniorresource.com/ageinpl.htm#other
  6. Low income apartments – www.rent.com, http://section8-help.com  

1.   Free Dental Clinics http://www.freemedicalcamps.com/
  1. Operation Blessing International, www.ob.org, 800-730-2537
  2. Ask about discounted Dental programs http://www.dentalplans.com/,  http://www.choiceplusdentalplans.com/ , AmeriPlan, Aetna,  Avia
  3. 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
  4. Medicare supplement https://www.aarp-healthcare.com/marketing/uhg/requestinformation/default.aspx?SourceCode=TIG&xOver=OVER&gclid=COex35nr-aYCFUdN4Aod2gy8Hg
  5. 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. Food bank - http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx
  8. Meals on Wheels http://www.mowaa.org/page.aspx?pid=253

  1. Insulate hot water heater
  2. Rinse clothes in cold water
  3. Take luke warm baths or showers
  4. Invest in energy efficient light bulbs to save money on power bills
  5. Improve home insulation to reduce heating and cooling bills
  6. Use coupons when they truly represent a saving opportunity
  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. Buy generic vs. name brand
  2. Bulk items on sale or “day old” items
  3. Use coupons or shop at discount stores such as Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Costco, Wal-Mart or Target
  4. Watch for the items you use to go on sale and stock up when prices are at their lowest
  5. Submit available rebate offers for products you use regularly

  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 http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=107626,00.html
  4. Budget - Create a budget and track spending daily or weekly. Reduce expenses – use coupons, buy in bulk, buy on sale, coupons.com. Don’t buy things you don’t need or just because something is on sale.
  5. Debt – pay rent/mortgage, car payment first, then setup payment plans for collection accounts, judgments, tax liens, then everything else
  6. Transportation costs – do you need a car, can you carpool or take public transportation
  7. Insurance – do you have adequate health, life and long-term care coverage
  8. Contact a financial advisor

  1. Aging Services Network - http://www.n4a.org/about-n4a/?fa=aaa-title-VI
  2. Discounts - http://seniors.lovetoknow.com/Are_There_Any_Discounts_Senior_Citizens_Receive, http://www.seniordiscounts.com/newsletter.aspx
  3. Aging Services - http://www.seniorresource.com/ageinpl.htm


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