Debt is a common problem for people in their 20s and 30s, but it can be just as much of an issue when you're retired. If you want to avoid being late with your monthly payments or accruing more consumer debt as a retiree, here are some tips for staying out of debt in retirement.
1. Downsize Your Home
If you're living in a large home that's costing you a lot in property taxes and upkeep, downsizing to something more manageable could free up some extra cash each month. Not only will this help with your debt payments but it can also save you time and money when it comes to yard work, utility bills and more.
Downsizing can also be a relief to you and your children. Having fewer things and less clutter is a more peaceful, less burdensome way to live in retirement.
2. Pay Off Your Cars
If you're still financing a car or two, now's the time to pay them off. This will free up extra cash each month, which is money you can use for other expenses like medical bills, groceries and utilities.
3. Create a Budget and Stick to It
When you're retired, it's more important than ever to track where your money is going. If you create a budget and stick to it, you'll be less likely to overspend and fall into debt.
This means knowing how much money you have coming in each month and then allocating it toward bills, debts, groceries, entertainment, etc. If you have trouble staying within your budget, consider using an app or online tool to help keep you accountable.
Sticking to a budget also gives you the opportunities to go over your bills, decide which ones are necessary, and ensure you don't have any recurring subscriptions or accounts you're paying that you forgot.
4. Be Realistic About Helping Adult Children
One of the easiest ways to derail your retirement savings is by giving money to adult children. It's a natural inclination to want to help out kids who are struggling, but if you're not careful, those expenses can add up and significantly reduce the amount of money you have saved for retirement.
Try setting some ground rules with your children about what kind of assistance they can expect from you and when they can expect it. And make sure any financial assistance you do provide is in addition to — rather than instead of — meeting your own savings goals.
5. Consider Working Part-Time in Retirement
Retirees who want to stay out of debt in retirement can consider working part-time. Working helps retirees earn enough income while staying active and involved with the world around them. It reduces boredom while simultaneously providing extra money for expenses, such as home repairs or medical bills, that may not be covered by Medicare.
6. Plan for Healthcare Costs
Healthcare costs can quickly add up in retirement, so it's essential to plan for them. People turning 65 or older can expect a 70% chance that they'll need long-term care services, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
As such, it's important to consider your personal healthcare needs. If you have a history of health problems, you might need to consider purchasing supplemental insurance policies or planning to set aside more money for future healthcare expenses.
Healthcare costs will be one of your most significant expenses in retirement, so having a plan for it can go a long way in preventing you from taking on additional healthcare debt in your later years.
Financial Stability Equals Peace in Retirement
Ultimately, it's never too late to start planning for a financially stable and debt-free retirement. Following the tips above can help you live out your retirement years without incurring additional debt.
Making small changes over time can allow you to appreciate your golden years without any financial stress. After all, retirement can and should be an exciting and enjoyable time in your life.