Financial stress is no joke. When seniors experience worries about money, it can have a significant toll on overall health and quality of life. In younger years, people sometimes respond to financial distress by taking on a second job or looking into a more lucrative career. Seniors often do not have that option, and due to a fixed income, financial stress can feel overwhelming.
Senior Affairs offers great advice on managing stress and finances and gives additional tips to make life better in your golden years. Money stressors should not dictate the best years of your life. There are methods to cut costs and shift the focus away from financial stress and toward enjoying life to the fullest. Here are a few.
Investigating Your Budget
Many people tend to avoid looking at their budgets in an effort to avoid stress. While it is true that high stress can result in an increased rate of heart problems, high blood pressure, and lower immunity, avoiding the problem only worsens stress. Our budgets are the borders for our financial lives. Sometimes taking a closer look at spending can widen the horizon and make the borders feel less constrictive. Budgeting tools can offer a simple way to track income and spending without additional stress.
Whether you use pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or an app for budgeting, it can bring you peace of mind to examine outgoing expenses. Working with a financial consultant offers great benefits, including objectivity and a fresh perspective on your financial situation. Consultants can help you pay debts and create a budget that is effective for your specific needs. If you would rather not hire a firm, consider working with a freelance financial consultant for a more personalized service. You can easily find one on an online job board, but be sure to check reviews, rate range, and level of experience so you end up with the right person for the job.
Diving into your budget is a crucial step in problem-solving financial issues. Finding ways to cut expenses is an important part of reducing stress — you might be surprised how much you can decrease spending when you examine each line item of your budget. Sometimes hidden expenses or exorbitant fees can be identified and eliminated.
Clues that Indicate Unnecessary Spending
Sneaky fees and hidden costs can swamp a budget quickly. Seniors can identify these budget-busters through careful examination of bank statements. With all the crooks and scammers out there, it is wise to closely monitor expense statements since much of the scams that seniors experience happen through the electronic transfer of funds. Beware of any phone calls that claim to be your bank or credit card company, and never give out your social security number, banking information, or passwords.
Other sources of unnecessary spending can include subscription fees to digital services you no longer use, frequent restaurant trips, and excessive interest rates. It may be worth considering refinancing certain bills such as car payments or simply ask your creditor to make a payment arrangement that works for your budget needs.
This Change Might Do You Good
If you are feeling strapped by a home mortgage or feeling “house poor,” it may be a good time to investigate streamlining your home. You’ll be surprised at how you can reduce home costs by simply weatherizing your home. An estimated 38 percent of heat is lost through wall, window, and door cracks, while 28 percent is lost through basement walls and floor. By weathering, you can reduce home heating and cooling expenses significantly. Using energy-efficient heating and cooling sources can also help you save on utility bills.
Downsizing to a smaller home is also worthy of consideration. The decision to move out of your home and into a smaller, less expensive place may feel daunting, but it can also save you a lot of financial distress. Excessive mortgage costs, high taxes, or heating and cooling expenses may be pummeling your budget. Downsizing to a smaller home will likely save you money on all of these expenses. Moreover, buying a home now will offer the lowest interest rates in recent history.
Financial stress can make life miserable for seniors. Examining your budget, identifying unnecessary spending, and downsizing can be useful strategies to reduce money stress. Talking with a financial consultant will also be a useful way to get a fresh perspective on your finances. Stressing about money doesn’t need to be a permanent state of mind — there are solutions that can help.
From wealth to health, Senior Affairs has all the tips and tricks to help you live your best life in retirement and beyond.