medical costs

Keeping Medical Costs as Affordable as Possible during Retirement

Many individuals are horrified to discover that healthcare will one of the largest expenses that they will have to take into consideration during what are supposed to be their golden years. Information provided by Fidelity Investments has revealed that a couple that retired in 2017 can expect to spend approximately $275,000 on healthcare-related expenses during retirement. 

Below are some strategies that could help minimize healthcare costs throughout this period in your life:

Prevention is Better than Cure

One of the best ways to avoid as many potential future costs, seek out ways to start improving your health and reducing the risk of disease now. Use spare time to exercise, get a good amount of sleep and ensure that you eat good quality food. Taking advantage of preventative healthcare services such as vaccines and free screenings that are offered from time to time will go a long way in helping to detect issues as early as possible.

Reduce Dental Expenses

A number of seniors are disappointed after learning that Medicare won’t cover the cost of most forms of dental care and procedures – which will be costly if dentures, bridges, crowns or implants are needed at any time. 

A great way to help reduce this expense is to see if you live near a dental school. Although students would be performing the procedures at these institutions, they will be under the close watch of qualified dental surgeons and using these services could slash your dental costs by as much as 50% to 60%.

Find Ways to Reduce the Cost of prescription Medications

Even retirees who have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan will find themselves having to cover part or even all of the cost of some of the more expensive prescription medications out of their pockets. Sometimes, these plans have deductibles that will need to be met before the cost of prescriptions will be covered as well. 

Wherever possible, find out from your healthcare provider whether any generic alternatives are available for any costly medications that you’re using. In many cases, generic medications can cost up to 70% less than the originals.

Manage Existing Chronic Conditions

If you already have any chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis or asthma, now is the time to seek out ways to be proactive with regards to managing them. This can be done by learning as much as possible about each condition and doing everything you can to help prevent them from worsening over time. Your doctor or even a local senior center will often be able to provide the resources you need to get started with this. 

Although taking as many preventative measures as possible before retirement won’t guarantee that your medical expenses will remain low during this time of your life, it will certainly help knowing that you’re being as proactive as possible with regards to staying fit and healthy – especially if you commit to remaining physically and mentally active.

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debt free

How Being Debt Free will Benefit your Financial Future

Up to 75% of American families are carrying some form of consumer debt these days, making it fairly easy to think that this way of living is quite normal. While many households simply shrug off the fact that they owe money on multiple credit and/or store cards, the truth is that this behavior does have an effect on stress levels. 

Although it is possible for several families to adopt a debt-free lifestyle, it does require a high degree of self-control and financial discipline. Below are some ways in which living a debt-free life will benefit your finances now and in the future.

Less Stress

Knowing that you owe money on one or more store or credit cards and a vehicle causes untold amounts of anxiety in most people, which in turn can negatively affect your health over time. If you’re suddenly unable to make a payment on your vehicle, you stand a strong chance of losing it – along with all the money you’ve already paid towards its loan. 

Eliminating just your credit card debt and vehicle loans will go a long way in helping you to feel a tremendous sense of relief in knowing that your car cannot be repossessed due to non-payment, for instance.

Enjoy Increased Savings

Living debt-free not only relieves stress levels; it makes it easier for your household to save money as well. Money that would have initially been spent on credit or store card interest can be placed in a savings account instead, which can be used to build a decently sized emergency fund over time. If you already have an emergency fund, additional savings can be put towards other activities such as a vacation – or even starting to fund your retirement.

Have Funds to Invest

One of the biggest advantages of being debt free is that it will provide you with the ability to start investing money for your future. 

The earlier you can start investing towards your future, the more time compounding interest will have to help your money grow exponentially over time. This could even enable you to consider the option of early retirement in some cases.

Enjoy Financial Security

A lifestyle that’s free of consumer debt will go a long way in helping to increase your level of overall financial security. It means that you won’t have to constantly worry about debt hanging over you if you or your spouse unexpectedly loses a job or have work hours cut. If the worst happens and you become ill, having backup finances available will allow you to focus on recovery instead of finances as well. 

If you’re struggling to make ends meet because of having a lot of consumer debt, or you’d like to find out more about how you can manage your finances in such a way that you’d be able to save towards retirement, get in touch with our team today. We look forward to helping you create the most secure financial future possible. 

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christmas gifts

Don’t Bust your Budget this Christmas

Although Christmas gift giving has been the norm for many years, this activity can drain your finances far quicker than you realize – especially when family and friends have come to expect certain standards in this regard. 

If you’d still like to ensure that your family and friends get to enjoy this time of year as much as possible without having to worry about how long it will take you to pay off those gifts, the tips below will help you get started.

Set your Budget

Festive season spending can go overboard very quickly if you fail to formulate your shopping list according to your budget. Before committing to purchasing any gifts, food, decorations or other Christmas supplies, determine the amount that you’ll genuinely be able to afford to spend on these items. Once you’ve done this, you can sit down and start making a list of gifts and other supplies that need to be purchased.

Track your Spending

Many individuals spend wildly throughout December, thinking that they’ll be able to deal with the aftermath in January. However, your finances will be far better off if you track your expenses as you make purchases because it will prevent you from overspending or having to put Christmas gift purchases on your credit card.

Prioritize Gift Giving

Although you may be used to purchasing gifts for several family members and friends, you may need to prioritize whom to buy for if you intend sticking to a budget. Consider focusing on the people you spend the most physical time with – don’t feel obligated to purchase costly gifts for relatives you seldom see. Chances are that they may also be feeling the financial pinch and will be relieved to not have to reciprocate.

Shop Around

These days, consumers are beyond spoiled for choice when it comes to doing Christmas shopping in-store and online. As such, taking a little extra time to shop around instead of grabbing the first offer you come across could enable you to save a lot of money on gifts. 

Many stores offer discount codes when spending over a specified amount or if you’re purchasing specific items. Before clicking on that ‘place order’ button, be sure to spend a few minutes searching online and on the store’s website to see if you can shave a few dollars off your order cost.

Ditch the Random Gift Exchanges

When questioned, most individuals state that they absolutely dread having to take part in any form of random gift exchanges, such as those that are often hosted at workplaces or social clubs that they may belong to – Christmas tends to be costly enough without having to deal with the added stress of purchasing a gift for someone you hardly know as well. If asked to participate, simply mention that your budget has been allocated elsewhere for this year. 

The saying of, “It’s the thought that counts,” certainly applies to gift giving this time of the year. If you simply cannot afford to purchase multiple gifts, most family members and genuine friends will still appreciate the time that you’ll be able to spend with them during the Christmas season.

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Disadvantages of Continuing to Work After Retirement

More individuals than ever are choosing to delay their retirement and continue working after turning 65 and current statistics have revealed that up to 20% of men and women over this age are either still actively employed or seeking a position. 

While there are advantages to remaining employed during this time of your life, there are also a number of disadvantages that must be taken into consideration.

Working after Retirement can Affect Social Security Benefits

First and foremost, it’s crucial to keep in mind that working after turning 65 will usually have a negative effect on your Social Security and Medicare benefits. For instance, both of these benefits can be affected by the amount of income you earn after you’ve officially retired. 

If you’re receiving Social Security payments during 2021, you haven’t yet reached full retirement age and income from your post-retirement job exceeds $18,960, your benefit will be reduced by $1 for every $2 earned over this limit. However, once you officially reach full retirement age, you’ll be able to work without having your Social Security benefits reduced.

It’s Not a Guaranteed Solution for a Shortfall in Savings

Although continuing to work after officially retiring – even part-time – provides a good way to supplement any personal savings you may have, keep in mind that you won’t always be able to control your employment situation. For instance, if you become ill or are injured, you may have to stop working completely – regardless of whether you can afford to or not. As such, it’s crucial to prioritize retirement savings while you’re still young and healthy.

You’ll Have Less Time to do the Things you Enjoy

The most obvious disadvantage of continuing to work after turning 65 is that you will be left with less time than ever to do the things you enjoy – which is usually the main objective of retiring. However, this may not always be a serious issue if you happen to find a position that you enjoy.

You Could Experience Additional Stress

As most individuals become older, they look for ways to reduce the amount of stress in their lives – and going back to work will certainly not be the way to do this. This will be the time to consider the real reason why you’re returning to work – are you bored sitting at home day after day or do you truly need the extra money to cover unexpected medical bills? If you don’t really need to extra money, it may not be worthwhile to subject yourself to the unnecessary stress of going back to work. 

Although many new retirees feel compelled to remain as active as possible, it’s important to remember that this is the time of your life when you should seriously consider slowing down a little to enjoy your golden years as much as possible. If you truly are bored being at home day after day, consider donating some of your free time to a charity or other worthy cause that you feel strongly about. 

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