When retirement is lurking right around the corner, many seniors count on their Social Security benefits to help cushion the blow. Here’s the bad news: Depending on when you retire — and even where you live — that dollar amount could change, and that definitely affects your bottom line.
With the average monthly check totaling under $1,300, many Social Security-dependent seniors are looking at an annual income of $15,600 — which leaves some tough choices.
Average Monthly Cost: $758
If you’re at retirement age and still looking at a housing payment, this will be a major chunk out of your monthly income. If you’re facing a standard mortgage payment, expect for it to eat up around 60 percent of your monthly income. It could always be worse though — if you were paying rent, that would take 74 percent of your monthly income.
The best step to combat this is to strive for a paid-off living situation once you hit retirement age — so be sure to make those mortgage payments.
2. Car Payment
Average Monthly Cost: $509
Much like housing, driving around in a car that is still financed will take a serious bite out of your budget. Basing calculations off the average monthly car payment in America, if you’re stuck paying for a car payment on Social Security benefits alone, you’d be looking at 39 percent of your monthly household income going directly out the window.
If you’ve been keeping track, a mortgage and a car payment alone would eat up 99 percent of your monthly income. Your best bet? Trade in the flashy car for a reliable — and paid-off — set of wheels, or do away with the vehicle altogether.
Average Monthly Cost: $60
In many seniors’ lifetimes, internet went from a luxury to an absolute commodity. The cost for connectivity isn’t cheap — many are looking at upwards of $60 per month — but you can manage to make that money count by stretching your dollar further.
Social Security-dependent seniors should view this as an opportunity to follow the trend of “cutting the cord” — opting for streaming services and pocketing the difference. Worried about understanding the technology? It’s a perfect excuse to spend a day with your grandkids giving you a tech tutorial.
Average Monthly Cost: $250 to $279
Everyone’s gotta eat — but that doesn’t mean busting your budget. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average monthly grocery tab for people ages 51-70 on a modest budget is $250.10 for women and $278.80 for men. The best way to make that fit into your money scheme is to cruise the coupons and base your weekly buys off of the sales.
Average Monthly Cost: $103
At $103 a month, cable is costing you more than you can afford if you’re Social Security-dependent. Once a staple of American households, traditional cable services are hiking prices — making it a prohibitive cost for many seniors. Like mentioned above, take it as a sign to say goodbye to the cord and transition to some more cost-efficient streaming services.