Money & Finance Seniors

01.17.2019 | 2 Minute Read | By A.D. Thompson

Whether you’re a senior who has rented your whole life, or you’re downsizing from a single-family home as you head into retirement, there are ways in which you can optimize your living situation for greater stability in your overall budget.

Read on for some simple financial tips for seniors or families interested in helping their loved ones live more comfortably.

1. Consider an extended lease

Does your rental community offer leases longer than the standard 12-month? If you’re not planning on relocating for some time, take advantage of the longest lease offered to keep your rent stable.

While some property management companies seem geared toward high turnover, some landlords really value a stable, reliable tenant over the quick hit of higher rates. If you’re someone who takes pride-of-ownership in your living space, you could be just the person that landlord is looking for – someone who will keep an extra eye on the property when he or she isn’t around, someone who will respect the space and take good care of it.

Be sure to ask – whether you’re signing a new lease or renewing – if a longer lease is an option.

2. Get a roommate

With rent rates on the rise, particularly in desirable urban centers, many seniors are going back to “college” and doubling up to save money, live where they want and – a bonus for many older people – enjoy some company in their living spaces.

If you’re a senior who really likes to enjoy life in a culturally interesting area, you’ll have a lot more money for the fun stuff like theater tickets or greens fees when you’re sharing expenses with a friend.

3. Ditch the car

Can you move to an area that will limit or eradicate your need for a car? Is there a community that would allow to you walk to the park? For groceries and other necessary supplies? To the library? The gym? Your doctor’s office? Can you move to a community that offers free shuttle service to any of these places (many that specialize in senior residents offer these services)?

According to NerdWallet, the average cost of a car driven 15,000 miles per year was more than $8,400 in 2017. Your car might be paid off, but it’s still not free. Do the math and figure out if eliminating the expense of car payments, gas, maintenance and even parking might work out in your favor if you find the right community for your needs.

4. Downsize

Who wants to spend time cleaning (or paying someone else to clean) space you’re really not using or taking care of a lawn that never sees foot traffic? Moving from a single-family home – or even a larger townhome or apartment – can be tremendously liberating!

Have you ever looked around your home and thought you’d love to have a sleeker look? Get rid of some of the ancient furniture and knick-knacks collected over decades. Downsizing will force that change – and allow you to garage sale, eBay and Craigslist away the old, leaving you a wad of cash for a few new key pieces to make your smaller, cheaper space fresh and beautiful. Or you can just tuck it away for a rainy day.

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