Financial Health, Retirement, and Older Americans
As we age, we tend to hear a focus shift to our physical health. But, how can we ensure that our financial health stays in check?
Updated on Jan 29 2020
Richard Eisenberg is Managing Editor of NextAvenue.org. NextAvenue.org is part of the PBS system with journalists and experts passionate about serving their audiences and delivering facts with reputable sources all the while making a difference.
As we age, we tend to hear a focus shift to our physical health. We need to eat less, move more, cut back on drinking, and take on new hobbies. However, your physical health will suffer if your financial health is not in good shape as you start nearing retirement age—no matter how good your diet is.
How can we ensure that our financial health stays in check? There is a wealth of information online, but it can be hard to parse through the bad advice and determine what you should take to heart. Technology can play a large role in improving your overall financial health, but it may not be accessible to everyone. We asked Richard Eisenberg, Managing Editor of Next Avenue, how Americans in their 50s and beyond can improve their financial health.
Online resources to help with your finances
Eisenberg said that most older Americans are not financially illiterate—they know how to file their taxes, they’ve dealt with savings and investments—but, like with any other age group, there is room to learn more. With so much misinformation available online, it can be hard to trust online resources. There is a wealth of good information out there, but how do you determine what is real and what’s not? We’ve compiled a list of trusted sources with investment advice and financial protection resources.
- Investor.Gov - Investor.Gov, from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a great resource with a number of articles relating to investment fraud, elder abuse, and financial protection resources.
- NASAA Senior Investor Resource Center - NASAA (North American Securities Administrators Association) has compiled a list of resources to educate seniors against investment fraud. NASAA provides senior investors to protect yourself in retirement.
- Investopedia - Investopedia has a retirement investment section on its site and it’s full of useful information including a complete Retirement Planning Guide and an entire section dedicated to senior care.
Other online options include:
- Next Avenue - Focusing on those over 50, Next Avenue covers news, advice, and retirement. Part of the PBS system, they deliver perspectives on issues that matter most.
- The Retirement Cafe - The Retirement Cafe is a blog written by Dick Cotton, an expert on retirement finances. This is a resource filled with retirement planning and investment advice focused on seniors.
- The Retirement Manifesto - This blog focuses on all things retirement. There is retirement investment advice, as well as lifestyle-focused retirement posts. It’s an essential resource for those who are at or near retirement age.
- Retirement Security - This is a news aggregator that focuses on all things retirement. Topics include small-business owners and their retirement, college-savings plans, and how tax-reform plans can affect your retirement.
- Retirement Wisdom - Retirement Wisdom acknowledges the numerous retirement options and strategies. They focus on retiring smarter and investment options to take when you are nearing your golden years.
What if you feel like you didn’t save enough?
For many older Americans, they may feel as if they didn’t save enough or wish that they had started saving sooner. Eisenberg says that if you feel that you don’t have enough in savings, then consider taking a part time job. For many Americans, retirement doesn’t mean stopping working altogether, but that they stopped working a full-time, five days a week job.
Even if you do feel like you saved enough, some Americans are still wanting to earn some extra income. With today’s “gig economy” focus, earning some extra income with Uber, freelancing, or even picking up some extra hours at a local retail store are a great way to stay active in your community and earn some expendable income. Having part-time work as a part of your routine is a way that you can stay involved in your community, create friendships, and give your budget some wiggle room.
Eisenberg says that another option is delaying Social Security. There is a larger benefit to waiting to collect it until you are 70. He recommends that you go to the Social Security site and set up an account. From there, you can get a sense of how much social security you will be getting at different ages and see what the numbers add up to. From there, you can make financial decisions based on your SS benefits.
Between working part-time and delaying Social Security benefits, “any of these possibilities can help people who have not saved as much as they wished they had,” says Eisenberg
The best time to save is now
If you are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of retirement looming, you’re not alone. While it can be scary to trust your money with someone else, finding a trusted fiduciary planner can alleviate some of your fears. Fiduciaries are, by law, required to act in your best interest. These professionals tend to be more transparent as they discuss your financial opportunities.
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