Reaching our mature years is supposed to coincide with financial security and stability. For most of us, our dream is that we have paid off our mortgage, are benefiting from a generous annuity and traveling the world and having a great time. In between our overseas trips, we may pop in to see our grandchildren, congratulate our offspring on their lucrative careers and pursue a hobby or interest.
This could not be further from the truth for many of us. A combination of financial, social and health circumstances may mean that our lives go rapidly downhill after our fiftieth birthday. We do not have to grin and bear it. There is plenty that we can do to sort out our finances as we get older.
Release some cash to make everyday life easier
If I sell my annuity or release the equity that I have tied up in my house, then I immediately get a large injection of cash and can spend it how I wish. I can help out my kids if they are struggling financially or treat myself to a much needed holiday.
With a reverse mortgage, the lender will pay me money. I do not have to make any payments as all of the interest is added to the loan. It will only need to be repaid when I move or sell the property. It is also repaid when the last borrower dies.
This way, I am in control of my assets and can choose the best way to spend them.
Delay my retirement
As unpalatable as this may sound, it is a financially sound option for many people. It is a little-known fact that by delaying the age you start to receive Social Security benefits, it is possible to increase the benefit amount. If we wait until we are 70 years of age, for example, our allowance would significantly increase. This can make a big difference to our monthly budget and our quality of life.
For those of us who have already retired, we have the option of returning to the workplace. There is plenty of help available for mature adults who need to assess our interests and skills and match these with employment. We can also access training where needed.
Getting help from our family
This may damage our pride, but we may have raised kids who are now more affluent than we are and they may be keen to give us a helping hand if we are struggling financially. If we are desperate for money to pay for urgent needs such as medical bills or caregiver expenses, our family is a good source of instant income. Adult children will have to work out whether this will disrupt their financial plans. They must not damage their own ability to save for retirement or for emergencies.
In some circumstances, it is cost-effective for families to pay medical bills or elder care if the taxpayer can claim that you are a dependent. It is important to seek financial advice before going down this route.