Managing money doesn’t come easily for everyone. And as you get older, retirement can present new challenges for finances as your circumstances change. Here are some tips to help you make sense of your bills and keep on top of your money as you enjoy your golden years.
1. Re-evaluate your priorities
As you grow older, it’s important to regularly re-evaluate your financial priorities and look ahead. Are there expenses you’re hanging onto that you don’t need, such as a large cable TV package or perhaps a second or third vehicle? Cut the financial fat that doesn’t make sense for you now, rather than hanging on to it just in case. Paying bills for something you value, whatever it is, and not for things you don’t need or care about will improve your quality of life now and in the future.
2. Ask for help if you need it
Many Canadians can manage their monthly bills, budgets and spending well into their 80s. But, whenever the time comes that you’re struggling to make sense of payments or you’re getting behind on bills, it’s important to ask for help from a trusted friend or family member. You may have been brought up to be independent, but your financial future is worth swallowing your pride. No one will think less of you.
3. Keep it simple
Whether you have a highly detailed system to manage your money or you’re much more haphazard, it’s in your best interest to keep things straightforward. Close out unnecessary bank accounts and think about consolidating debt – you want a system that is both easy for you to follow and for someone to pick up down the line if needed.
At the same time, follow what works best for you. If you’re technology-savvy and struggle with due dates, try automating some or all your monthly bill payments – that way you’ll always pay recurring bills on time. On the other hand, if you don’t trust online banking or you find the internet too costly, confusing, or inaccessible, it’s okay to stick with paper bills that come in the mail, where that option exists.
In fact, this year the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission mandated that customers who are over 65, or who don’t have internet or mobile data, or who self-identify as someone with a disability, must be able to receive paper bills from their communications provider, at no charge, upon request. You can learn more about the new rule at crtc.gc.ca/paperbilling or 1-877-249-2782 (CRTC).