Budgeting for Senior Citizens

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Explore:  Elder Issues

The post-retirement years are supposed to be the “golden years” for senior citizens. This is sadly no longer the case for far too many older Americans who find themselves struggling to live on fixed incomes. Many have had to forgo retiring until well into their 70s, and others who were retired for years are finding themselves having to reenter the workforce to survive. Instead of living comfortably off the savings accumulated over decades, some senior citizens are battling to overcome seemingly insurmountable debt.

While many of these money woes are due to the economy, others are avoidable with careful budgeting. If you are a senior citizen and want to put together a budget to avoid falling into debt, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Put it in writing, starting by noting how much money you have in short- and long-term savings, investments, checking accounts and other accounts.

  • Note how much income you receive monthly from Social Security, pensions and other sources.

  • Categorize your monthly expenses, which likely include:

    • Rent or mortgage

    • Groceries

    • Utilities

    • Car payments (add in insurance, gas and repair estimates)

    • Taxes

    • Credit cards

    • Fixed medical costs (medications, doctor visits and other known expenses)

    • Designate a percentage to keep in reserve for any unexpected medical expenses or other emergencies.

    • Life isn’t all about bills! Include some “mad money” for entertainment, buying gifts for grandchildren and dining out

Budgets can be very helpful, but they alone cannot ensure you will have enough money to cover your debts.