Got money problems?
Money problems can happen to anyone, regardless of age, sex or financial situation.
While younger people may be able to squeeze out of it with ease, the elderly often get mired in all the problems that come with lack of money.
Elderly people no longer have the agility, stamina, and resourcefulness of their younger counterparts. Being retired and living off a pension that hardly makes both ends meet, they are forced to skimp on things that could have made their retirement fun and enjoyable.
Because of this, elderly people are the poorest demographic in many countries including the U.S. A lot of American senior citizens are hobbled with money problems due to decreasing assets, high loan interest payments, and day-to-day budgeting problems.
According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, 44.4 percent of households led by people 65 and above are deep in debt due to a home mortgage, co-authored student loans, credit card and insurance payments, loan refinancing or default payments.
Are you one of them? Do you sometimes feel like a circus juggler trying your best not to let a ball slip through your fingers for fear of embarrassing consequences if one does?
If you are not, don’t be smug about it. Any of the unforeseen vagaries in life can send you from your high perch directly to a shelter for the homeless, or line up in soup kitchens. It has happened to a lot of people before, it can happen to you.
Before it does (knock on wood), try these…
Simple tips to avoid money problems:
I am living off a very small social security pension which is just enough to pay the bills. A little help from my children and the proceeds of my late wife’s real properties which we sold off allowed me to survive this far.
I know how it is to face money problems each day. It has also made me devise ways to cope with it.
1. A good attitude about money:
Money is a tool to sustain life, not life itself.
So use it wisely and prudently. Just because you have an ax doesn’t mean you have to hack at everything that comes your way.
Once it is gone, it is gone for good. And if you are a retiree with no means or replenishing it, you will soon be deep in money problems.
Howard Schultz said: “…I have never defined myself by my net worth. I always try to define myself by my values.”
2. Live humbly:
Henry David Thoreau said, “I make myself rich by making my wants few.”
Nothing is lonelier than a man ridiculed and vilified after spending his fortune on his friends.
I learned this lesson from my father. When he was on top of his world, our neighbors drooled around his feet. When his fortunes reversed, he was smirked at as he passed by.
You will never be remembered for the expensive things you had, but by how you touched other people’s lives.
3. Go for what is comfortable, not expensive:
This is my mantra since the beginning and taught this value to my children.
If it is good enough for the price you are willing to pay for, why buy something that will just put pressure on your budget?
Sadly, keeping up with the Joneses is one of the unwholesome values of man. That’s why there are more poor than rich.
Don’t be one of them.
4. Learn from your mistakes:
Barely three months after retirement, I lost a third of my retirement package through an investment fraud. That experience still sends shivers of anger down my spine – not against the fraudster but for being so stupid.
Bill Gates said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s important to heed the lesson of failure.”
Remember you are beyond your prime when bouncing back from costly money mistakes is practically impossible.
This is a no-brainer, yet so many people go into retirement with not enough savings, or none at all. In fact, according to time.com 28% of people aged 55 years and above have no retirement savings.
The reasons are fairly common, i.e., credit card payments, child’s college education, small salary, mortgage payments, etc. While they may be valid, they don’t necessarily make it impossible to save.
If you spend first, then save the rest, you can never save. It is only by saving a little first then spending the rest.
You may have to for substitutes or buy what you need, not what you want. No matter how small, over the course of a year, a penny saved every day will be substantial tomorrow.
6. Stick to your budget:
Thomas Boone Pickens, chairman of the BP Capital Management, makes a list before going to the grocery and buys only what is on his list. He carries no more money than he needs. According to him, “You couldn’t spend money you don’t have.”
Yet he has money, lots of it. He is worth at least $1 billion.
Next to saving, budgeting is one thing people don’t want to do, or won’t do. They say the money they have is not worth budgeting.
Wrong. The less you have, the more you need to make a budget and stick to it.
7. Learn some DIY stuff:
David Cheriton cuts his own hair to save on barbers.
For a guy who is worth $1.7 billion, this might be carrying things a bit far. But it does make a lot of sense not to pay for things you can do yourself.
Each time I mow my lawn, my neighbors would tell me to hire someone to do it. I can, but I don’t want to. Not only do I save a few bucks, I also get to exercise.
There are so many things around the house you can do yourself rather than hire someone to do it for you.
Money problems among the elderly cannot be taken lightly. It can affect your physical and mental health, put a strain on your relationship, and may cause family breakups.
It can make your retirement life a living hell.
Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.