Statistics suggest that baby boomers aren't going to enjoy retirement as much as their parents. Approximately 45 percent of individuals 50 and over who are still working still don't have enough for retirement — especially since life expectancy in both men and women has grown over the years. Even those who do wind up retiring are tightening their purse strings.
If this sounds familiar, there's no reason why you still can't revel in your golden years. Start by looking into creative ways to free up some cash. For example, consider purchasing final expense life insurance, which focuses on after-life preparedness, in lieu of a more expensive life insurance policy. You'll still be able to take care of funeral costs, the premiums are lower, and it's generally easy to qualify for. While you may want to age in place like the majority of your peers, examine whether the financial obligations tied to your home are holding you back from doing things you enjoy. In this case, it may be smarter to downsize.
Adopt a Dog
Research suggests that pets can lower blood pressure, reduce depression, and lessen loneliness in the elderly, so providing you're mobile, relatively healthy, and have the financial means to take care of a pet, there's never been a better time to add a new member to your family. Forget about buying an expensive purebred pooch -- there are millions of dogs in shelters that are in need of a forever home and even more that are put down due to lack of space, so you'll be doing a good deed by adopting.
Turn a Hobby Into a Side Business
So, maybe you're not in the spirit — or health condition — to work a full- or part-time job anymore but you are still feeling strapped for cash. Consider turning that knitting, painting, or furniture-making hobby into a lucrative side business. Before getting started, research your competition in an effort to see if there's something you can offer that's slightly different or more advantageous. Make sure you have the financial resources to support a startup, as well as the know-how to register your company, schedule your taxes, market yourself, and create a website (there are many free templates available online). Many cities and states offer free or low-cost resources to answer any questions, guide you through ownership processes, and more.
Join a Book Club
If you find it hard to commit to anything other than the flyers you receive in the mail, then consider joining a book club. Along with increasing your social network, there are copious benefits that come with regular reading, including enhanced memory, sharper decision-making skills, a delay in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, reduced stress, and better sleep. A basic web search should lead you to clubs in your area, but look to your local library and senior center, too.
Go Out to Lunch Instead of Dinner
While you don't necessarily have to eat dinner at lunchtime, making the most out of your mid-day meal can save you some cash. The menu is more limited, the service is at a reduced expense, and proprietors know they can't fill the room, so the costs are less. This is not to say you still won't enjoy a top-notch experience — and if you like a European lunch complete with wine, look into BYOB options in your area.
Take a Staycation
The term staycation has become more popular in recent years, but the original theory was to take up shop in your own city or town by booking a hotel room (there are copious bargain buster strategies to do just that) and rediscovering your current town or city. There is also the option to elevate your at-home experience by hiring a pro for a deep clean, delivering destination-based meals, unplugging, having an alfresco dinner, camping in your backyard, hosting a film festival, turning your bathroom into a spa, practicing yoga, and upgrading your bedroom.
Truth: isolation is not uncommon in the elderly. In fact, one in five older adults is socially isolated from family and friends. Embrace the present and always look to the future.
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About the Author: Jim McKinley is a retired banker with almost 30 years of experience. He created MoneywithJim to share his advice and other resources on a variety of financial topics.