Wednesday, December 5, 2018

10 Ways for Seniors to Avoid Losing Money

If there is one thing that most seniors don't have, that's a lot of extra money.  When you live on a fixed income, you become very aware of your money, how to stretch it, and how to conserve it for your future.  But there are plenty of ways that seniors can lose money every day so if you are a senior or know a senior, be sure that you/they don't lose their valuable money by...

  1. Falling for scams.  I think seniors are the most targeted demographic when it comes to scams which is very sad (how can someone rip off an old person and be able to sleep at night???).  While the scams change a bit over time, there are several that are really common like these and these.
  2. Paying attention to their health.  The older you get, it seems the more prescription meds you are given.  Obviously medication is important and can be life saving but there are several ways to take your health into your own hands, mostly by changing your diet and exercise, which may decrease the number of prescriptions you pay for each month.
  3. Being in debt. If you are in debt, you are paying interest.  Paying interest is a giant waste of money since you aren't getting anything for this money but the ability to spend money you don't have!  Here's an article on seniors in debt.
  4. Getting all of the discounts that are due to you.  Whether it is a discount on your property taxes, a senior discount at your favorite restaurant, or taking a class to get a discount on your insurance, always always ask for a senior discount.
  5. Downsizing.  I know people want to keep the family home for as long as they can but if you are alone (or even a couple) and the kids have long since moved out, why pay to maintain, heat, and air condition a giant house when you can move to a smaller and thus cheaper to maintain home that fits your current lifestyle?
  6. Changing their lifestyle to match their income.  When you retire, you don't need to keep up with your pre-retirement lifestyle.  You don't need the "right" car, the professional wardrobe, the lunches out everyday, and everything else that goes along with a professional lifestyle and professional income.  
  7. Reviewing every dollar that leaves your account and determine if there is a free/cheaper way to get the same thing/item/service for less.  Every once in a while you will hear of seniors who still pay a monthly fee to rent their home phone--which they have been paying for decades!  The same goes for computer modems which are much cheaper to buy rather than rent, there may be subscriptions you still pay for but never use, etc.
  8. Cooking for an army.  It took us a while to ratchet back the amount of food we bought and the amount of food we cooked, after the kids moved out.  While we easily have a few months of food on hand (great for an emergency!), there is no point in buying food for the freezer which will succumb to freezer burn before it ever get eaten, or buying those giant containers of food at Costco which you will never eat.
  9. Loaning money or co signing for a loan for anyone--even your favorite grandkid!  By living frugally you can retire, by apparently living the life of leisure as a retiree, you may look like you have a lot of money!  Don't loan money you don't have to give as a gift and NEVER EVER co-sign for a loan for anyone.
  10. Spending too much--on car repairs, on home repairs, on home security systems, etc.  Seniors often get taken advantage of in these areas so if you need a repair done, your computer fixed, or another service, always ask friends for referrals, check reviews, check references, and make sure they are even a licensed and insured business to start with (it took my friend three months to get a shady contractor to finish a job at her house, she tracked him down at his church and asked his pastor for help getting the guy to finish the work he had been paid for!).


  1. Great post, thank you. Some of these seem obvious, buy maybe not to us at the time they are happening. Good to think about. I would just add "guilt". I saw another person post about retirement and having guilt about retiring while so many people can't. Whatever. I worked hard and made decisions that now allow retirement. Get over it.

    1. In Las Vegas I've seen the extremes of retirement--those who have retired as multi millionaires and those who try to survive on Social Security only. It's pretty surprising the extremes but you are right, those who retired well worked hard to get there!