Thursday, April 4, 2013

Smart Financial Tips for Retirees

saving and spending
saving and spending (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
Just because you’ve reached an important milestone doesn’t mean savings and investing are behind you. You might be just as busy as you were when you were working full-time, and nowadays the transition into retirement isn’t as black and white as it used to be. If you’re worried about how to stretch your pension, social security, retirement accounts or savings, read on for financial tips just for retirees. 

If you haven’t quite reached the marker for withdrawing social security or a certain account, hold on. The penalties are almost never worth the instant “reward.” Whether you were a frugal spender your entire life or not, now is the time to really put wise spending into action. From travel to groceries, there are a number of ways to save money and put off those payouts until you can maximize them. 

Saving on Health and Well-Being

As a retiree, you likely qualify for a number of low-cost or even free classes and services. Start by Googling free health classes in your area. A costly gym membership for you and your spouse is an easy item to be nixed if you find things like free yoga or Pilates that can replace it. Get creative and you might find a new passion, such as aqua classes in adjustable pools at your local community center.

When it comes to grocery shopping, consider the actual cost of convenience. You probably already know which nearby stores have the lowest prices, especially when combined with coupons and shopping seasonally, but it might not be quite as convenient as the store that’s a little closer. Or maybe you’re just a creature of habit or prefer the atmosphere of a costlier store; consider if the cost is really worth it. 

Travel Tips

It’s no secret that traveling standby can save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. The downside is that you have to have flexibility, which is something many people in the workforce don’t have. However, flexibility is now yours and you can save a bundle on travel. Combine standby with traveling during the off season to maximize your cost-saving trip.

Price comparison is important no matter what you’re shopping for, including travel. If you really want to save, choose destinations based on proximity to you. If you live in New York, a trip to Puerto Rico will be much more affordable, not to mention an easier and with a shorter flight time, than a trip to Hawaii. Tropical locations also have off-seasons where hotels and activities are often half off, so plan accordingly. 

Are Your Accounts Working for You?

If you’re paying for a checking account, stop. There are plenty of checking accounts available with no catches for completely free accounts, including options at local credit unions. If you feel locked into a savings account that requires a high minimum for a low APR, it’s time to move on. What happens if you need that money? You’ll be penalized with monthly fees when the balance drops below a set amount.

Right now, there are very few options from CDs to savings accounts that offer anything beyond a paltry return rate. Don’t opt to lock your money away if there’s not a decent return on your investment. Instead, look for avenues to save your money with no strings attached. As a retiree, accessibility and no penalties should be at the forefront of any new accounts.

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