Staying Independent in the Senior Years

14StayingIndependentThere’s no place like home, especially as we age and enter the senior years. Growing older doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to leave the home you’ve grown to love. With some planning and assistance from friends or loved ones, many seniors are able to live independently in their homes for years. The following are some tips and resources to help yourself or a loved one maintain independence as long as possible:

Making the Home Safe

With some simple retrofitting and modifications, a home can become safer and more convenient for an aging adult. Caring.com offers steps to help make a home as safe as possible, including adding ramps or stair-lifts to help seniors get around homes with multiple levels. Making sure light switches are next to room entrances or installing remotes for lights can make moving from room to room easier. Health and safety monitoring devices also are great options for helping seniors feel more secure when living alone. The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.

Transportation Assistance

Carpooling with friends or loved ones or utilizing local transportation assistance can be a great way to get out of the house and run errands. Many local parks and recreation departments or public transportation offices offer community services to help seniors who no longer wish to drive. A list of local transportation programs for your area can also be found at seniordriving.aaa.com The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.

Delivery Services

If mobility is a challenge, use a delivery service to have essentials such as groceries, medications or meals delivered to the home. Your local Area Agency on Aging organization can be a good resource for helping seniors find meal assistance programs such as Meals on Wheels. Check with your local pharmacies to inquire about home delivery for prescriptions or contact your insurance company to learn about mail-order pharmacy options.  The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.

Money Management Assistance

If you’re having trouble staying on top of the bills, the National Institute on Aging recommends asking a trusted loved one to help you stay organized and make payments on time. If you prefer to receive assistance from a professional, ask your local Area Agency on Aging for referrals to financial counselors or geriatric case managers. It’s also important to stay alert for scammers who target seniors. You can stay up to date with current scams and tips for protecting yourself on Capitol Federal’s Fraud Alerts page. The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.

Do you have other tips or resources for helping seniors live independently? Share them here.

Saying No to Peer Pressure Spending

14PeerPressureSpendingPeer pressure from friends and family to spend money is a common pitfall many people face when trying to get their finances in order. Those invitations for dining out or weekend getaways can quickly derail your money management plans. The good news is there are ways to stay true to your new budget without sacrificing good times with family and friends.

1. If you’re invited to an activity that’s out of your budget, suggest a less-expensive alternative. DebtGuru.com suggests instead of going out for dinner and drinks, offer to meet for lunch instead; many restaurants offer lower fare lunch options, so you’re less likely to rack up a huge tab by the end of the meal. Inviting friends over to rent a movie instead of going to the theater is another good budget-friendly alternative for a fun evening gathering. The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.

2. Decide what’s important to you and set a long-term goal to help you stay on track. Rather than just telling yourself you’re going to start saving more, Wisebread.com suggests identifying a long-term goal you can work towards to help you stay motivated. Whether it’s a dream vacation or extra padding in your retirement funds, tracking your progress towards that goal can help you avoid temptation and unnecessary spending. The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.

3. Share your financial goal with friends and family and ask for their support. ReadyforZero.com reports honest communication can be a powerful tool for preventing peer pressure to spend. Many people have encountered tight financial situations at some point in their lives, so most friends and family will be understanding if you let them in on your plans to live more frugally. That way if you have to turn down several invitations, your friends may be more understanding knowing it’s nothing personal. And, who knows, some of your friends or family may even want to join you in your quest to cut back! The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.

4. Reward yourself for short-term achievements. Equifax.com recommends dividing a long-term goal into smaller steps to help you stay motivated and see the rewards of your efforts sooner. When you reach short-term goals, reward yourself with something you enjoy, such as a pedicure or a day at your favorite park. Inviting others along can be a great way to see friends without feeling guilty about extra spending. The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.

5. Remember life is not a competition. When money envy strikes, Time.com suggests reminding yourself of all that you do have. When you see a friend or neighbor roll up in a brand new car, it’s common to feel pangs of jealousy and wish you had a new vehicle of your own. However, instead of lamenting on what you’re not able to afford, remind yourself how great it feels to not have monthly car payments or credit card debt. Those lavish vacations you see friends taking are fun until they’re still paying the bills on it months later. And remember, to those who truly care about you, it won’t matter if you can’t afford the newest fashions or take treks around the world. The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.

What has worked for you when it comes to resisting spending peer pressure? Share your tips here!

6 Ways to Minimize Student Loan Debt

14StudentLoanDebtWith the rapidly rising cost of tuition, many college students are relying on student loans to finance their education only to find themselves overwhelmed by debt after graduation. By planning ahead and borrowing wisely, students can minimize the amount they’ll owe and pay off the debt faster.

  • Only borrow what you need. It can be tempting to apply for student loan funding above and beyond the basic tuition needs to supplement living and entertainment expenses, but the more money borrowed, the longer it will take to pay off the debt. Working part-time can be a good alternative for bringing in extra cash flow.
  • Pay attention to the loan repayment terms. Signing on a dotted line for student loan money is easy enough, but at some point that money has to be repaid. Make sure the repayment terms are clear and calculate what monthly loan payments will be to make sure they are affordable before getting the loan.
  • Start saving early. Don’t wait until the first year of college to begin planning how to pay for it. Start putting savings away as early as possible, even if it’s just a little bit – every dollar will help. Savings accounts designed specifically for education expenses can be a great way to put money away with possible tax benefits.
  • Earn college credits in high school. Many high schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses, allowing students to begin earning college credits. Not only will this save on tuition, but AP courses also can potentially help students earn more scholarship money.
  • Take advantage of other funding options. Student loans aren’t the only route available to help students pay for college. There are many scholarships and grants available. Fastweb.com provides a free scholarship matching service to help students pay for college. Parents may wish to look into whether borrowing money from a retirement plan or IRA makes financial sense for the family.  The highlighted link will take you off the Capitol Federal Savings Bank website. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is not responsible for the contents of the site or any further links from such site. Capitol Federal Savings Bank is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Capitol Federal Savings Bank.
  • Cut back on housing expenses. Instead of using student loan money to rent an off-campus apartment, consider applying to become a resident assistant (RA) in an on-campus dorm. RAs supervise dorms and in return often receive steeply discounted or even free housing in the dorm. Living at home with parents for a year or two during college is another good option for saving money on living expenses.

Do you have additional tips for minimizing student loan debt? Share them here.