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Grandpa’s Four-Point Financial Fitness Plan

by on January 11, 2013

Financial Fitness Plan

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re either old, getting old or thinking about getting old. Octogenarians are the fastest-growing age group in the United States right now, and one day, with luck, you’ll be a part of that group. Since 2008, the number of U.S. citizens aged 80 and over has grown by nearly 6%, and the Census Bureau estimates that by 2060 that number will triple. While it certainly beats the alternative, getting old is very expensive. As divorce rates have gone up, more seniors are tackling financial problems like increased healthcare expenses on their own.

If you’re gettin’ up there (or if you know someone who is), our brief guide to growing old without going broke may be just the prescription you need for continued financial health. By the way, these tips were assembled by a gang of angry old men at the mall food court last Wednesday morning. These are men who’d made tremendous financial mistakes in the past, so you know this stuff is legit.

  1. Be patient. “Patience is a virtue,” said every grandparent ever. So it’s time to put your money where your mouth is, Gramps, and by that we mean “be patient and keep your hands off it.” If you hold off on collecting your Social Security until you actually retire (instead of as soon as you’re eligible), you’ll have more money when you’ll need it the most.
  2. Get a part-time job. Believe it or not, being unemployed can get boring after a while. Getting a part-time job after you retire gets you out of the house and helps you maintain an active social life. And of course, it helps your financial life too. CNN Money did the math: if you take a part-time job that makes you $15,000 a year, that’s $15,000 a year you won’t be withdrawing from your IRA. As the money in your IRA remains tax-deferred for longer, after ten years you’ll be sitting on an extra $220,000 (assuming your interest rate is 8%).
  3. Put off retirement. Here’s where patience comes in again. We know this isn’t what you want to hear. You’ve been waiting for this day since the age of 30, and it feels like you’re going to be working until the day you die. But retiring even just a year or two later than you wanted can make a big difference in the quality of the rest of your life. You’ll have a little extra financial cushioning should any problems arise, and maybe some extra cash for checking a few things off your bucket list too. Perhaps a girls’ trip to Vegas or that big tattoo you always wanted?
  4. Get a Hobby. Retirement is the time for you to do “you.” Maybe you always dreamed of being a photographer, but family responsibilities and the demands of a more practical career held you back. Well, now’s the time to take it up again. Studies have shown that having a hobby you’re passionate about has significant mental and physical health benefits. And hey, less time spent at the doctor means more money in your wallet.

Let’s face it – the idea of getting old is kind of scary. Everyone wants to live a long life, but a long life presents a lot of challenges too, especially when it comes to money. Don’t  fret too much though, Granny. These financial tips should ease the burden a bit so that you can finally enjoy that hard-earned “me time.” Any retirement financial tips we missed? Let us know in the comment section.

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