Monday, February 20, 2012

Finding Senior Discounts - an article from The Dollar Stretcher

I did not right this article, but thought it was worthy of posting. Many of us who have parents or In-laws on fixed incomes, and some of my readers, have reached their 60's. Any tips I can share that may help someone improve their living expenses, I will gladly post them.  Enjoy!



Finding Senior Discounts
by Debra Karplus, MS, OTR/L
Senior discounts add up for aging baby boomers


When you were a child, you always wanted to look older and actually be older; then sometime in your thirties, getting older stopped appearing quite so desirable. But, you've heard that good things come to those who wait. Warren Buffett, American business investor and philanthropist, shares his wisdom, "Someone's sitting in the shade because someone planted a tree a long time ago." Buffett, who is well past his youth, knows that there are many benefits for those who made smart money choices in their youth.

Senior discounts exist for many of the products and services you currently purchase. Different stores, enterprises and organizations have chosen a different age that is considered "senior." Ages 50, 55, 59 1/2, 60, 62, 65, 70 1/2 have significance, depending on where you are shopping or what you
are trying to accomplish. Seniors can save money on some of their fixed expenses.

No matter how frugal or simple a life you live, there are certain expenses (fixed expenses) that you can't avoid. Most of these pertain to managing your home and possessions. Your yearly real estate tax may be one of the biggest expenses you have. The good news for seniors is that many counties offer a
discount to homeowners of a certain age. Contact your county assessor's office to see if and when you may be eligible for this often-substantial discount.

Seniors can often save money on insurance. Auto insurance rates are often lower for seniors with good driving records. The AARP website <www.aarp.org> states that seniors can save $357 per year on auto insurance, as a member benefit. Some insurance companies offer discounts to seniors who have passed a qualifying safe driver class. Contact your insurance agent to determine if you deserve this lower rate. And while you're reviewing your insurance needs, assess whether it's still appropriate for you to carry life insurance; if you no longer have dependents and debts, you may be wise to cancel your life insurance policy. Additionally, if you're no longer actively in the work force, you may not need disability insurance either.

An enticing opportunity exists for people over fifty who are contributing to their Roth IRA. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows a larger yearly contribution, up to six thousand dollars annually. Check the IRS website at www.irs.gov to learn more about Roth IRA contributions.

Seniors can save money on their variable expenses, too. Travel is an area where big savings exist for seniors. If you're booking an air trip online, many airlines have a lower fare for those over 62. Peruse the airline website carefully before you book a trip and pay too much. Additionally, Amtrak trains offer seniors lower fares, typically a 15% discount. For example, a round trip ride to New York City from Chicago is $194, but it's $164.90 for seniors. See www.amtrak.com to view other schedules and fares. If you use your city buses, you'll likely find opportunities for seniors to commute for less. Rental cars may also cost less if you're of a certain age. Just ask!

Seniors can enjoy food and entertainment for special lower prices. Some of the fast food places sell coffee to seniors for a quarter; that may be cheaper than home-brewed coffee. Movies, theaters and concerts often sell tickets cheaper to seniors. They don't want to insult you by asking if you're a
senior, so you need to be proactive and ask. Many restaurants have a section on their menu for seniors.
There are other places that offer senior citizen discounts. Your bank may have special checking account offers for seniors. Even the place that does your routine car oil changes or cuts your hair may offer a senior discount. Get in the habit of politely asking when you purchase services.

Have you noticed actress and comedienne Betty White on television lately? Well into her eighties, she looks fabulous and has a thriving revived career. Treat yourself and your money and possessions with respect when you're younger, and you are positioning yourself for spectacular golden years.

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