Saving for retirement is something everyone has to confront at some point in their lives; hopefully you start sooner rather than later. But there’s no changing the past, and if your retirement savings aren’t quite as hefty as you thought they’d be, you don’t have to worry. Once you reach a certain age, there are a number of benefits that you are eligible for that can help save you money and supplement your savings.
You’ve worked hard to get to the point you’re at, and a variety of rewards are yours for the taking. You can find discounts on hotels, travel, food, and much more if you just know where to look. You’ll enjoy retirement worry-free if you follow just a few simple tips:
Ask For The Senior Discount
Ah, the dreaded senior discounts. No one wants to call himself or herself a senior in order to claim the senior discounts, but the rewards are beyond belief. You’d be surprised the number of different businesses that offer a senior discount. When traveling, you can use the senior discount at a variety of airlines. Simply speak with a customer service representative, ask for the senior fare, and confirm your age to receive a reduced rate on airfare. Airlines such as United and American Airlines offer discounts to seniors aged 65+.
It’s not just airlines that offer discounts to seniors; ground transportation offers a plethora of senior discounts as well. Greyhound and Amtrak both offer anywhere from a 5% to a 15% discount for seniors over the age of 62. Whether you fly, take a train, or rent a car, you can use the senior discount at every point in your travels.
The same goes for booking hotels and lodging: Comfort Inn and Clarion both offer up to a 10% discount to seniors over the age of 60 if you reserve your room in advance. Don’t be shy about asking if a place offers a senior discount; after all, you won’t know if you don’t ask!
Enroll In AARP
Speaking of senior discounts, no group has half as many benefits for its members as the American Association for Retired Persons. You only have to be 50 years old to sign up, and many senior discounts that have an age requirement are also available to AARP members. Essentially this means you can receive additional discounts for being an AARP member even if you don’t technically qualify as a senior.
AARP offers a variety of insurance options including healthcare, Medicare supplement insurance plans, and even pet insurance. Member benefits include discounts at a variety of pharmacies including Walgreens and Rite Aid as well as restaurants such as Bonefish Grill or Outback Steakhouse. Browse the AARP website for a full list of member benefits, as the list goes on and on.
You can even save on certain cruises with an AARP membership, allowing you to save hundreds of dollars by only spending $12 for your first year’s membership. They offer discounted memberships if you purchase a multiple year term, so sign up for their 5-year term for $63 to maximize your membership benefits. You’ll make that money back tenfold in the amount you’ll save in discounts.
Maximize Your Social Security
Every American citizen becomes eligible to start receiving monthly Social Security benefits at the age of 62. However, if you start receiving benefits at the earliest possible age, you only receive a partial benefit for the rest of your life. If you wait until you turn 66 then you’ll receive the full benefit for the rest of your life. The longer you wait to start receiving benefits, the higher percentage of benefits you receive.
There are advantages and disadvantages to taking your benefit early. The advantage is that you collect benefits for a longer period of time, but the disadvantage is that those benefits are reduced. Life expectancy plays a large part in those decisions. The longer your life expectancy, the longer you should wait to start benefits. If you expect to live past the age of 75, you’d be better off waiting to start receiving full benefits rather than starting with partial benefits.
You also have an added perk with Social Security benefits if you’re married. You can either receive your full benefit or half of your spouse’s benefit, whichever is greater. So, if you’re only eligible for $400 a month in Social Security but your spouse is eligible for $1,200 a month, then you could receive $600- half of your spouse’s benefit. If you start receiving benefits early, however, this amount is reduced to 35% for those born after 1960.
Enroll In Medicare
Medicare is a national health insurance program in the United States that provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older. Anyone 65 years of age or older who has been a legal resident of the United States for at least five years is eligible for Medicare. If you are under 65 and have a disability, you may also be eligible if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Medicare has four parts: Part A is Hospital Insurance, which covers inpatient hospital stays where the beneficiary has been formally admitted to the hospital. Part B is Medical Services Insurance, which helps pay for some services not covered by Part A, usually outpatient services. Part B is optional and is usually deferred if you’re still working and have health insurance through your employer. Part C is another way for the beneficiaries of Part A and B to receive their benefits, usually through the Medicare health plan Medicare Advantage. Lastly, Medicare Part D covers many prescription drugs.
No part of Medicare pays for all of your covered medical costs, and the service still contains premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance. Still, Medicare can be a much cheaper health insurance option for many seniors. If you’re unable to afford coverage in retirement, Medicare can be a great option for saving money on health insurance and staying healthy in old age.