7 Surprising Ways Retirees Waste Their Savings

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Retirees usually have a limited amount of money to spend during their golden years.

Unfortunately, some people make costly mistakes that can deplete their nest egg prematurely.

From giving away cash indiscriminately to refusing to embrace lifestyle changes, here are some surprising ways retirees waste their hard-earned savings.

1. Ignoring senior discounts

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It’s a mystery why anyone would pay more than needed, but retirees do just that when they ignore senior discounts.

Maybe they don’t realize how much these benefits can add up. Some retailers, for example, offer storewide discounts ranging from 5% to 20% on certain days.

We have a list of the 50 best senior discounts.

2. Buying unneeded insurance

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During a person’s working years, disability insurance can ensure someone has the cash needed to pay bills if they become sick or injured and can’t hold down a job.

However, it’s a waste of money to keep paying disability insurance premiums when you’re retired. The same goes for life insurance if you no longer have kids at home or a spouse whom you’re financially supporting.

In fact, there’s a long list of insurance products you could probably drop from your budget, as we illustrate in “9 Types of Insurance That Might Be a Waste of Money.”

3. Supporting grown children financially

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Parents sometimes spend a lot of money to support their adult children. That’s money retirees, particularly those with meager savings, really can’t afford to spend.

While it’s understandable that parents want to help their children, there are ways for you to lend a hand financially without paying their bills or handing over cash.

4. Maintaining two cars

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Two cars are often a necessity for households in which two partners work.

However, retirees who have more flexible schedules may be able to easily get by with a single vehicle.

Transportation is the second-largest expense category for retirees, according to federal data. Ditching the second vehicle can save money on insurance, gas and registration fees.

To further cut your costs, review these six ways to save money on your remaining vehicle.

5. Refusing to downsize

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Transportation is second only to housing when it comes to retiree expenses. One-third of spending in households led by someone age 65 or older goes to keeping a roof over everyone’s head, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

You would think empty nesters might be keen to move to smaller, less expensive homes, but half don’t. In fact, nearly one-third actually upsize to a bigger house to accommodate visiting family members, says a Merrill Lynch-Age Wave study.

Retirees who are stretching their dollars should consider whether money on a bigger home is well-spent if the rooms remain empty for most of the year.

6. Insisting on brand-name medications

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Medications are one of the items you should always buy as a generic, regardless of whether you’re a retiree.

The Food and Drug Administration says generic drugs must have the same active ingredients and strength as brand-name medications, and they can cost up to 85% less.

Some stores will even give you certain generic prescriptions for free.

7. Donating to every charity that calls

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Many retirees have big hearts and are quick to open their checkbook whenever approached about a good cause. However, people living off savings should be careful that they don’t give away too much and jeopardize their ability to live comfortably in the years to come.

What’s more, older Americans are often targeted by scammers who may use fake charity appeals to get money.

We have tips to help you donate to charity the smart way.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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