Overcoming the Hidden Costs of Aging
If you’re concerned that Social Security and the COLA are failing to cover your cost of living, here are two moves you should make:
1. Evaluate your situation and trim the fat
Although your situation might be different, let’s take a look at how the average American senior is forced to budget his or her money.
The average yearly income for seniors was $31,742 in 2012 — translating to approximately $2,500 per month. After subtracting 40 percent of that for housing expenses, they’re left with just $1,500 for transportation, food, and other necessities. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of breathing room for any unexpected health issues or other surprise expenses.
If you find yourself with a low amount to work with every month, it’s time to find ways to cut back on your spending and eliminate your debt. You should always be prepared for the worst — do everything you can to prevent one health issue from derailing your entire retirement.
2. Seek out advocacy resources
There are a great number of resources out there seeking to help retirees budget their funds. Start with organizations like the National Council on Aging, the National Aging In Place Council, and AARP. These three in particular are dedicated to helping seniors achieve a higher quality of life.
AARP is an especially powerful lobbying force. It does a lot of work in Washington, D.C., speaking on behalf of seniors all over the country. You can be sure that it will play a major role in any Social Security changes we see down the road.
You’ve seen a lot of change in your lifetime, and your resilience has carried you this far.
With any luck, the COLA will soon become something that American seniors can consistently rely upon. But for now, you have to make the best of a difficult situation. With the help of resources like AARP, it’s not terribly difficult to ease the financial burdens of aging and prevent surprise expenses from ruining your retirement plans.