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10 To Do’s While Living on Social Security

Updated: March 4, 2024
By: Jeff Smith
Jeff Smith
Sr. Content Manager
As Retirement Living’s senior content manager, Jeff oversees the product and publishing of all retirement, investing, and consumer wellness content on the site. His extensive expertise in brand messaging and creating data-driven stories helps position Retirement Living as a top authority for senior content and community resources.
Sr. Content Manager
Edited by: Jeremy Robinson
Jeremy Robinson
Retirement Living Team
Retirement Living Team
Living on Social Security

If you’re retired and living on social security, you want to enjoy your retirement without fear of running out of money. With the right plans in place, retirees can live on a fixed income and avoid losing sleep at night over financial concerns. We created a list of 10 things to do while living on Social Security so you can avoid unexpected expenses and live well during retirement.

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Counting on Social Security

Many people receiving Social Security benefits must live with an income much lower than what they earned during their working years. So it’s critical to make every dollar count and make wise decisions to prevent financial difficulties in your retirement years. Here’s how to get started.

1. Purchase a Home Warranty

Home Warranty

One way to avoid major home-related expenses while on a fixed income is by purchasing a home warranty. A home warranty makes big-ticket home repairs more affordable, including mechanical and electrical failures not covered by your homeowner’s insurance. A home warranty can be especially helpful if you are planning to age in place in an older home. Talk to your insurance agent to discuss what your homeowner’s policy covers, then consider whether your house is likely to need significant repairs in the coming years.

2. Get a Safety Net with a Reverse Mortgage

Access to cash on Social Security can be very limited. If you need access to cash, and have equity in your home, consider a line of credit or lump sum from a reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgages allow you to take advantage of the equity you have in your home and can be a viable option for raising cash. To qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must:

  • Be at least 62 years old
  • Have your mortgage fully or nearly paid off
  • Meet the financial guidelines set forth by the Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Continue paying property taxes and home insurance
  • Live in the house full time

3. Contact a Financial Advisor

Financial Planning

Your working days are over, but your money should continue to work for you! Speaking with a Certified Financial Planner can ensure your assets are actively growing so you and your family are taken care of in future years. Facet Wealth combines advanced technology with a team of Certified Financial Planners to manage your investments. Facet Wealth provides the familiarity and expertise of a traditional financial planner with advanced investment technology.

Why use a financial advisor?

  • Comprehensive investment strategy
  • Experienced Certified Financial Planners
  • Trained financial professionals

4. Sign Up for Identity Theft Protection

Unfortunately, seniors on Social Security are at an increased risk for identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission reports scams often target seniors via phone, email, and other methods to steal personal information. The criminals then use those details to bleed the victim’s savings and other assets dry. Identity theft protection can shield you from the devastation caused by someone stealing your financial and personal data. These services typically offer credit and identity monitoring and regularly check databases to be sure your credit card numbers, Social Security number, or personal information is not stolen and misused.

5. Secure Your Future with Long-Term Care Insurance

Gold IRA

You may have prepared well for retirement by saving over your working years to have the income to supplement Social Security. Long-term illnesses requiring in-home nursing or an extended stay in a nursing home or similar facility can drain those savings. Long-term care insurance can absorb much of the cost of in-home personal care, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. Talk to a financial advisor about your budget, family health history, and realistic expectations for long-term care expenses, then choose a plan to fill in the gap.

6. Buy Life Insurance

If you haven’t already, protect your loved ones with a life insurance policy. Your beneficiaries will receive a payout at the time of your death to help cover your final expenses. Some life insurance policies have optional riders for long-term care or failing health, so you can make an early withdrawal to help cover your cost of medical care if needed.

7. Look into a Car Warranty

Auto Warranty

The last thing you need during your retirement years on Social Security is an unexpected automotive expense. A car warranty is a third-party service designed to help shield you from the cost of major vehicle repairs like a failed engine or transmission. Not to be confused with an extended vehicle warranty, some car warranties cover a vehicle for up to 250,000 miles.

8. Refinance Your Mortgage

If you still have a mortgage, you may be paying more interest than you would if you refinanced the loan. Talk to a representative from your bank or mortgage company to compare today’s rates to your existing home loan. You may discover that refinancing your mortgage will save you a good deal of money in the long term.

9. Learn About Medicare Supplement Insurance

Medicare insurance will help protect your health as you age, but coverage is limited and does not pay for all healthcare expenses. Soften the burden of medical later-life expenditures with Medicare supplement insurance to fill the financial gap between your medical bills and Medicare benefits. Some plans offer coverage if you travel abroad, which Medicare does not provide.

10. Know Your Dental Insurance Options

Dental Insurance

Regular dental care is vital, but it can be expensive without employer-provided dental insurance. You will likely need more dental care as you age, but Medicare doesn’t cover dental costs. Learn about coverage from the top dental insurance plan providers to find an affordable policy and keep your smile healthy.

Retire with Confidence

You can take many steps to stretch your Social Security funds and plan for significant expenses while transitioning into your retirement years. Discuss your concerns and options with a financial advisor and your loved ones to make a plan that fits your situation.

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