According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, 24% of persons aged 65 and above life in families that rely on Social Security payments for 90% or more of their income.
With an average monthly payout of $1,523, retirees who rely on Social Security to cover all of their living expenses are living on a shoestring budget.
Seniors may take advantage of a variety of discounts and privileges once they retire, allowing them to enjoy a rich life on a restricted budget. Take the necessary steps to maximize the value of your benefits and live comfortably.
Take Your Social Security Benefits Later
Retirement from employment and the start of Social Security benefits are two reasons to rejoice as you get older.
Although you can begin collecting Social Security at the age of 62, your monthly payments will be much greater if you wait until you reach full retirement age, which ranges from 65 to 67 years old depending on your birth year.
For example, if you reach full retirement age at 67 but begin receiving Social Security at the age of 62, your benefits will be 30% lower than if you wait another five years.
If at all feasible, defer collecting until you’ve reached full retirement age. You will obtain your maximum Social Security payments if you wait until you are 70 years old to start receiving.
Consider withdrawing your claim if you filed for Social Security early
Have you already claimed your benefits and are now surprised by the actual expenses of retiring on Social Security? If you applied for Social Security within the last 12 months and wish to raise your benefits, you can withdraw your claim and reapply at a later date.
It’s worth noting, too, that if you choose to withdraw, you’ll have to refund all of the advantages you’ve gotten up to that time. Still, being able to maximize your Social Security payouts may be worth it in the long run.
Make a Social Security Plan Benefits for Survivors
If you’re married, talk about ways to maximize your Social Security benefits if one of you passes away. When one person dies, the widow or widower may be eligible to receive the deceased spouse’s benefits instead of their own if the benefits are greater.
As a result, it makes sense for the higher-earning spouse to retire later so that when the household’s two Social Security checks become one, the surviving spouse receives the maximum benefits.
Relocate to a Low-Cost-Of-Living Area
When your cost of living is lower, your Social Security benefits will stretch further. If you reside in a high-cost area, consider moving to a region where you can survive solely on your social security check.
Warm weather and enough to do for retirees may be found in cities like Tuscon, Arizona, and Reno, Nevada, as well as the inexpensive cost of living.
Before retiring, pay off your debts
It’s advisable to pay off all obligations, including credit card payments and mortgages, before retiring to get the most of your Social Security benefits.
This way, rather than spending your rewards on items you’ve already purchased, you can focus on what you need on a daily basis.
Relocate to a State That Is Tax-Friendly
Most states and Washington, D.C. do not tax Social Security payments, but if you reside in a state with even lower taxes, you may stretch your benefits even farther.
According to AARP, Alaska and New Hampshire have no sales or income taxes, whereas Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming have sales taxes but no state income taxes or taxes on pension income.
Take on a Roommate
Sharing living expenses with a roommate or housemate is a terrific way to stretch your money further while also avoiding the loneliness that comes with retirement.
According to a SmartAsset survey, renters who split a two-bedroom with a roommate save more than $800 per month over those who rent a one-bedroom on their own in several big cities.
Even if you don’t rent, sharing a room can help you save money on utilities, internet, cable, and energy.
Benefit from Free Entertainment
You don’t have to spend any of your Social Security benefits to keep yourself active and entertained. Stay amused during the day by visiting a free museum or borrowing a book from the library.
You may also go to an open mic night at a local coffee shop or theatre, where entry is usually free. Attending book readings, attending a lecture at a local college or university, and attending free outdoor concerts are all free activities.
These gains, however, may have to wait until states have fully recovered from the coronavirus shutdowns.
Purchase an AARP membership
An AARP membership costs $16 per year, but the discounts can more than cover the cost of the membership. AARP members save money on health and wellness, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, and community memberships in addition to receiving typical senior discounts.
Consider Relocating to a Retirement Community
If you’re looking to relocate, a retirement community may be less expensive than buying a new house in the region. “They’re typically less expensive than the nearby properties on the market,” said Sara Zeff Geber, a retirement coach.
Furthermore, living in a retirement home makes it easy to mingle with individuals your own age. However, you should be realistic about what you can afford with your Social Security check, since some luxury retirement communities may be rather costly.
Visit Restaurants With Senior Discounts
You’ll be on a limited budget if you live on Social Security, but it’s fine to dine out once in a while – especially if you go to a restaurant that gives a senior discount.
Many prominent restaurants give seniors 55 and older up to a 25% discount on meals, including takeaway. According to TheSeniorList.com, Chili’s gives a 10% senior discount every day, and Uno Pizzeria & Grill offers a 25% discount for seniors on Wednesdays.
Save Money While Shopping
Keeping your clothes in good shape doesn’t have to eat up a large portion of your Social Security payment. According to TheSeniorList.com, several large shops provide discounts to senior customers:
the Banana Republic gives 10% off to buyers age 50 and up every Tuesday, Kohl’s gives shoppers 60 and up 15% off every Wednesday, and Ross has a 10% off Tuesday promotion for anybody age 55 and up.
Don’t Pay Too Much for Prescriptions
The expense of medication may quickly pile up. When feasible, get the generic version of your medication to save money. Also, to save money and gain benefits, join a prescription membership club where you buy your medications.
The Rite Aid Rx Savings Program, for example, saves members 15% or more on prescription drugs, and a 30-day supply of common generics costs only $9.99 with the plan.
A daily walk or trek is a simple and inexpensive method to keep active. Make a morning stroll in your neighborhood a part of your regular habit, or go hiking on a nearby trail to take in the scenery.
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Hiking when most people are at work saves you the trouble of dealing with crowds, allowing you to fully appreciate the solitude and quiet of the outdoors.
Giving back to people in need is one of the finest ways to feel good. Volunteer for a cause that matters to you – it’s a costless way to spend your time that also benefits others.
Return to School
Tuition exemptions for citizens aged 60 and over are available at many local schools and institutions, allowing seniors to take college programs for free.
Even if your local university does not provide tuition assistance, you may be able to audit classes for free. This implies that you are welcome to attend all classes and lectures, but you will not gain credit for them.
One advantage of auditing is that you won’t have to worry about tests or homework.
Try a Different Gym Class (for Free)
You may not have had time to go to the gym on a regular basis while working, but that is no longer an excuse. SilverSneakers is a free service that allows Medicare members access to over 14,000 gyms and fitness centers around the US.
SilverSneakers members not only get full access to participating gyms, but they also get free lessons in the gym and elsewhere. You may try yoga for free or dance your way to better health without paying any money.
Unfortunately, this benefit might have to wait until all gyms are completely operational and safe to visit.