How to Budget for Aging in Place
How do you envision your later years? Do you expect to live in a nursing home surrounded by strangers or would you prefer to stay in your familiar home? If you’re like most people, you chose the latter. More than 40% of people who opted to stay in their own home cited social reasons. Isolation is a huge concern for seniors, and being able to stay put makes them feel more independent and able to remain part of a community.
While staying home may seem easy enough, it will require some budgeting on your part. That’s because, as you age, you may begin to suffer from health issues – mental, physical, or both. You will likely require the services of an in-home caregiver – at least part of the time.
While in-home care is one-third of the cost of nursing home care, seniors often live on fixed incomes, so it’s important to factor in the cost of such services. While a financial planner can help you create a budget, there are some things you can do as well to create cash flow and save money.
Make Sure Income Exceeds Expenses
Before you retire, make sure you have enough money saved up to pay for your care, along with other regular bills and expenses.
Keep in mind insurance utilities, maintenance, and other costs of owning a home. If possible, pay off your mortgage and credit card bills before retiring so you don’t have to deal with those payments during retirement.
Categorize Your Expenses
When budgeting, think about the things you will need and the things you want. Itemize the costs for all of these and meet with a financial advisor to see what you can afford. This will depend on your savings, projected income, and lifestyle choices.
Defer Social Security
The longer you defer your benefits, the higher your monthly income will be once you do decide to opt for payments. Once you retire, it’s important to get the highest amount of cash flow possible.
Factor in Home Remodeling
As you age, you may need to make some improvements to your home to make it more accessible. You might need to make it wheelchair accessible or you may need to move the laundry room. The home may require raised toilets or grab bars. A remodel can cost as much as $100,000, so start saving now just in case.
Look for Services in Your Area
Most communities offer free or low-cost services for seniors. These services may include meals, transportation, and social activities. Signing up for these services can reduce your costs. For example, having a train or bus service reduces the need for a car, which can save money. Meal services can reduce the need for grocery shopping. Some areas even offer home and yard maintenance services. Look for senior resources in your community. Churches and senior centers often have information about available services.
Technology can be used for a variety of purposes. You can use it to communicate with family members, receive treatment for health conditions, and get help in an emergency. Technology can also come in the form of pill reminders, motion sensors, video cameras, and timers. Technology can also be used to create budgets and stay organized. All of these things can help save money in some form.
Get Help from Others
Ninety percent of seniors who age in place get help from friends, family members, and volunteers. Get together a team of people who can help with various tasks at different times. That way, you can save money on in-home care while retaining your independence.