Rose Miller, manager of strategic empowerment programme at the JN Foundation, underscores the importance for persons to carefully manage their finances, at all times and in all seasons of live but particularly during retirement.

This she said especially because income is oftentimes reduced and pensioners still face high inflation, the constant upward movement in the price of food, medication and other goods and services.

Effective Expense Management

Mrs Miller stressed the importance of budgeting during this season of life to avoid over expenditure and even waste.

“As a pensioner, not only are you faced with reduced income and price increases, but additionally, many seniors must also factor in significant cost for healthcare and as you age, the cost of long-term care and assistance if and when you are no longer able to manage on your own.  Coupled with the fact that people are living longer in retirement, prudent financial management is crucial to avoid pensioners outliving their retirement savings,” she explained.

Tracking all expenses is one way to ensure that money is not spent on unnecessary purchases. Mrs Miller informed that for those seniors not averse to technology, using a budgeting app would be beneficial. With aggressive tracking of expenses and making some other spending adjustments, the savings can be great, she advised.

There are many free online budgeting tools, ranging from budgeting apps to spreadsheets, which can help seniors keep an eye on, and track their expenses.

Thrifty Spending Tips

“I would recommend frugal spending as much as possible, shopping where they can get the best prices, taking advantage of rewards and utilising substitutes wherever possible instead of the higher priced products are ways in which you can make the dollar stretch,” she indicated.

Mrs Miller said seniors should also be assertive, taking advantage of available discounts as well as those for which they qualify. Noting that sometimes seniors may be asked to prove their eligibility, pensioners should be prepared with the appropriate documents; proof of age or government-issued identification would be sufficient.   She also recommended teaming up with close friends or family members to purchase groceries in bulk.

Maximising Income Opportunities

To supplement their income, seniors should explore the option of monetising their skills or hobbies, Mrs Miller advised.

“If you have a skill or hobby that you can monetise, you should do that. For example, if you are a teacher, you can offer tutoring services during your retirement. There is also the option to acquire a new skill that can bring in income, and that should be explored.” she said.

Another avenue which could be pursued is property rental which would generate income.  Mrs Miller informed that seniors who have a large home could downsize and convert a section of the property to provide rental income.

She noted that owning a large home may not make sense. For some the option of selling their current home and purchasing a smaller house or condo might be more practical and attractive. This will reduce many expenses associated with the care and maintenance of the property and even security in some cases.

The manager of strategic empowerment programmes suggested that seniors also start a backyard garden where they can cultivate vegetables or general cash crops which could  generate income, but at the very least, reduce or eliminate purchases of these items. “Vegetables such as callaloo, peppers, and tomatoes are among crops easily cultivated and they mature in a short period of time. The produce from gardening can help to offset buying them at the market and any surplus can be sold.  Gardening will not only keep seniors busy, reducing boredom, but has the added advantage of providing them with the exercise they need to keep fit , warding off or helping to manage some lifestyle diseases,” she explained.

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