For millions of people approaching retirement, the dreams of yesterday are becoming the realities of tomorrow. More and more retirees are carrying debt with them into a retirement they're already unprepared for. And according to a recent survey, among people age 65 and up, nearly 23 percent expect their debts to outlive them.
How can you rescue your retirement if you're still saddled with debt while trying to build a new future? While some people only need to make small adjustments to their lifestyle, many can benefit from trying a more radical change.
For example, why not consider one of these one-stop solutions?
Take in a Roommate. This idea - while not perhaps the first thing that comes to mind – helps in both financial and social ways. Financially, the income and shared expenses of having a roommate can alleviate much of the strain on a senior's wallet. But almost as importantly, sharing a home with someone else can provide a single senior with companionship, safety, and help with daily activities if necessary.
Sell and Downsize. Many people entering retirement have worked long and hard to build a "forever home" that they can enjoy as a base for retirement years. But that home is a big, untapped asset for a lot of people. It's been estimated that an average of $75,000 of available equity may be found in selling the family home. This can clear up a lot of the retiree's financial burden and be saved toward future expenses. However, be sure to do research into the costs of selling and either buying or renting a different home. And be sure that you can let go emotionally of a home before you do it.
Declare Bankruptcy. Average household debt in the United States tops $117,000. Among the biggest reasons are divorce, medical debt, and job changes. This can happen to anyone. And when that debt reaches a certain point, it may not be something that can ever be overcome. Seniors with high debt loads who want to retire may need to consider the option of declaring bankruptcy. Sit down with an attorney, such as Schneider Steve Atty At Law, who can help determine if bankruptcy is right for your particular case.
Move to a Low Cost-of-Living Area. If you're not tied to a certain location through family or work ties, why not consider a move to an area where the cost of living is less? By doing so, you can stretch fixed income dollars farther and enjoy retirement more. Many Americans are even enjoying living outside the country in low cost-of-living countries like Ecuador, Costa Rica, Malaysia and Mexico.
Instead of trying to scrimp and scrape a few extra dollars out of your budget to clear up debts and financial strains, try making a single big financial change. With one move, you may be able to reset your retirement dreams back to what they used to be, no matter what's happened along the way.