Dealing With Debt on a Retirement Income
The last thing any retired person wants to be dealing with is debt. Whether you’re restricted to a fixed income or want the peace that comes with being debt free, there are strategies that can help you depending on your situation. If you’re dealing with debt on a retirement income, keep reading on for 9 tips and tricks on how to manage.
1. Utilize Your Savings
While it can be difficult to part with hard earned money that’s sitting safely in your savings account, it can be hugely beneficial to use this money to pay off debts instead. If you’re paying a high interest rate on the savings you already have, this money could be better off going to your debts. While it may seem scary to watch the balance of your savings account go down, there’s nothing quite like the peace of being debt free when trying to enjoy your retirement.
2. Go Back To Work
If you’ve decided to retire, there’s no reason why you can’t go back to work on a part time basis for a bit of extra cash to pay off outstanding debt. Lots of retired people feel limited from their previous jobs on what they can do as they enter old age. The good news is that there are lots of jobs specifically for those in retirement.
Many of these jobs are formulated with your needs in mind, and may bring you extra levels of happiness you didn’t know you needed. Maybe you could help at the local grocery store for 2 mornings a week or help with some maintenance requests at a nearby school. There are lots of options for ad-hoc work. You just have to get out there and look for them. You could use this extra cash to pay off your debts so you don’t have to tap into your savings.
3. Pay Less For The Debt Owed
If you’re dealing with credit card debt, you always have the option to switch to a more cost effective deal. You could also choose to pay off the credit card debt with an interest-free money transfer credit card. There are lots of deals out there at the moment that provide people with little to no interest which helps save tons of cash down the road.
4. Claim Your Benefits
Research shows that there is a large amount of retired people who aren’t aware of the perks and benefits available to them. Find out whether or not you qualify for extra assistance depending on your situation. The extra money can be really useful in paying off debts.
While it can be upsetting to part with a home that you love, sometimes it can provide tremendous benefits. As house prices continue to rise, the market is currently on your side. When you sell your home and downsize for a smaller property, you’re able to have a huge injection of cash that can be hugely beneficial for both your retirement lifestyle and paying off outstanding debts. Have a look at houses for sale in your area and talk to trusted real estate agents about how much your house could be worth. The result may surprise you.
6. Consolidate Your Loans
There is always the option to pool all of your debts in a single low interest loan. This is especially helpful when you have multiple debts with various interest rates, as it allows for all debt to be under one roof with a much better interest rate than before.
7. Take Out Life Insurance Policies
There may be value in your life insurance policy that you don’t require anymore. Maybe your kids are grown up and have finished college – this could be a self-starter for you. You may be able to access the money in a cash value policy by taking out a loan against the policy or by surrendering it. It’s important to understand that while this benefit may free up some much needed cash, you may also be dealing with hefty fees up to 30%. You also cannot pursue this strategy with term life policies. The only way this would for would be through permanent life insurance.
8. Declare Bankruptcy
There’s a reason why bankruptcy exists – people find themselves in a pickle and need it. If you’re struggling to pay off debt in your retirement, it may be time to look into bankruptcy options. While there’s a certain stigma that’s associated with bankruptcy, some of the most successful business people in the world have been involved in bankruptcy at one point or another so there really is no shame in the game.
The good news is that social security and other retirement accounts are protected assets when going through the bankruptcy process. This means that credit card companies cannot come after these ‘assets’. While bankruptcy shouldn’t be a first resort, it is definitely an option if you aren’t worried about your credit history.
While you want to live your best life in retirement, it can be helpful to stick to a budget so you can afford your monthly payments. This can mean shopping at a more cost efficient supermarket or going for trips away at cheaper times during the year. There are lots of things that you can do in order to lower your monthly outgoings.
First thing’s first. Get a piece of paper and write down all of your monthly outgoings for the last three months. Review everything and divide them into categories such as groceries, bills, entertainment, family, etc. If you find that your standard bills are really high, see how you can be saving.
Maybe it’s time to switch energy providers or seek out new auto insurance. If your entertainment tab is high, you can also cut this down easily. Take a break from the weekly shopping trips or have friends over instead of going out. At the end of the day, it’s about the company you keep and not the material objects.
Dealing with debt when you’re retired can be stressful, but with the right planning you can take charge of your situation in no time. Take a serious look at your finances and think about what could be right for you. If you’re feeling good in yourself and your health, why not go back to work for a couple of mornings a week? If you’ve left the world of work behind, consider debt consolidation or other strategies to take control of your debt. The good news is that you always have options; you just have to know which ones work best for you and your family.