5 Simple Tips to Help Retirees Pay Bills on Time
When you retire, life might not necessarily slow down; however, your daily and monthly routines might now be quite different. The responsibilities change from getting up and going to work every day and paying bills to figuring out when to meet friends for pickleball or what new appetizer to bring for cocktail hour with your children and their spouses.
Not to mention, the urgency you once had for staying on top of your expenses might not be there anymore. But falling behind could create problems for you, including generating unnecessary late fees that can become costly and even damage your credit over time. There are several reasons why a senior might not pay bills on time: they forget, don’t have the funds, or any other reasons. According to CNBC, almost 30% of seniors, or individuals 65 and older, have difficulty paying their expenses.
Here are five tips for paying bills on time as a retiree:
- Organize your expenses
You can organize your expenses by breaking them up into what is called a “three-bucket approach.” The bucket approach is used in the financial planning world in various ways, from isolating expenses to building wealth. In this case, we focus on expenses. You can separate your fixed, variable, and non-monthly expenses as follows:
Fixed expenses are bills that are the same each month. These payments may include:
- Student loan payments
Variable expenses are those that will change from month to month. These expenses include:
- Eating out
- Possible clinic (medical) copays
Non-monthly expenses are those you don’t necessarily expect, including:
- Car issues like an oil change, a nail in the tire, or broken windshield wiper.
- Gifts for birthdays and holidays
- An issue at home like the dryer or garbage disposal going out.
2. Set up autopay
Setting up autopay is the clear choice for paying your fixed expenses on time. As you enter retirement, what once was a regimented routine is gone, and staying on top of bills can be difficult. Also, as we age, our memories may not be as sharp as they once were. Autopay can help keep you from veering too far off the track. According to the financial services technology company Fiserv, more than 75% of people are utilizing autopay for at least one bill. Maybe you are one of them and if so, you are already benefitting yourself.
3. Establish an emergency fund
Create an emergency fund separately from your checking or savings account. A significant problem retirees often face is a dependence on social security benefits to survive. According to the Social Security Administration, about 45% of single adults and 21% of married couples rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income. Building an emergency fund and having cash on hand if you need it to cover bills can help keep your payments timely.
4. Purchase an annuity
Retirees can consider using a portion of their retirement savings and purchasing an annuity from an insurance company. Therefore, you may have access to regular payments for the remainder of your life, regardless of how long you live. This money can be helpful when paying for expenses, from regular monthly bills to unexpected ones. Surprisingly, according to Kiplinger, less than 15% of retirees make annuity payments part of their retirement income strategy.
5. Get help from a financial professional
Consider consulting a financial professional who can help you create a payment plan to assist in keeping your bills paid on time and design a longer-term strategy to align with your financial and retirement goals.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial professional prior to investing.
Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This article was prepared by LPL Marketing Solutions
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