We often assume as we get older that money matters become more simple, and in many cases, this is true. You may be done worrying about saving for the future, and may be free of many of the expenses you had when you were younger. But this doesn’t mean you’re too old to make financial decisions that will still benefit you.
There are many money moves that you made when you were younger that still apply. Not all of these actions below will make sense for everyone. But age, by itself, shouldn’t rule them out.
1. Buying a home
You may think that by a certain age, it makes no sense to purchase a home because you may not live long enough to pay it off in full. But there are some great financial advantages to homeownership, even for older people.
For one thing, if you want your retirement nest egg to last, you are better off putting money into something that builds equity and may increase in value. That’s money that can be used in the future for your long-term care, or passed on to your heirs. Some older citizens even fund their retirement using a reverse mortgage, which allows you to draw equity from your home to pay expenses.
Additionally, when you own a home, you can make adjustments to the design and features to accommodate any health needs. For example, you could install a chairlift or add a bedroom on a lower floor so you won’t have to go up steps. These are things you may not be able to do if you live in a rental property. (See also: 5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement)
2. Getting life insurance
Many older people don’t bother with life insurance past a certain age, because the premiums do get more costly. But there are many cases where it makes sense.
If you are still working and your spouse relies on that income, term life insurance can come in handy. You may also have some debt — mortgage debt, for example — and want to ensure there is enough money to pay it off if you pass away. Guaranteed Universal Life policies can be good for seniors who want to ensure there’s money to pay for final expenses or estate taxes.
There are many different insurance products; be sure to closely examine the costs and benefits of each to see if they make sense for your situation. (See also: 5 Kinds of Insurance Every Retiree Should Consider)
3. Shopping for health insurance
We assume that older Americans are simply covered by Medicare and that there’s nothing more they need to know. But the reality is that Medicare doesn’t cover everything, and it’s often important to get supplemental insurance to protect yourself.
You are never too old to shop around to find the lowest premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. No matter your age, it’s smart to re-evaluate your insurance periodically to ensure you have the right coverage at the right cost. This is especially true if your health situation changes. (See also: How to Make Sense of the Different Parts of Medicare)
If you are retired, you may be of the mindset that you already have all the money you need to live comfortably. But are you sure this is true? People are living longer these days, and you can spend as much time in retirement as you did working. Thus, it may be necessary to continue to accumulate money as you get older.
Even if you think stocks are not right for you at this stage of your life, continuing to buy bonds, real estate, and other investments can help bolster your nest egg and ensure that you can cover all of your life expenses as you age. (See also: 7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50)
5. Rebalancing your portfolio
At a certain age, you may feel like your investments don’t need much baby-sitting. If you’ve shifted to a lot of fixed-income investments, it may be true that your portfolio doesn’t need much maintenance. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
Even the oldest investors need to check in to see if they are on track to hit their savings goals. All investment portfolios can get out of whack if they are not monitored properly. An older investor may find, for example, that stocks make up too much of a percentage of their portfolio and represent a risk if the market goes down. (See also: Think Outside the Index When You Rebalance Your Investment Portfolio)
6. Building an emergency fund
You may have accumulated enough money to retire on, but did you take into account the cost of a new roof for your home? Did you count on thousands of dollars in unreimbursed medical expenses? It helps to have a separate account to cover these types of expenses, separate from the money you use to cover everyday costs.
If you are no longer working, you may still be able to fund your emergency account through income from stock dividends, interest, or capital gains. Just be sure you’re not tapping into money you may need in the future for living expenses. (See also: Yes, You Still Need an Emergency Fund in Retirement)
7. Crafting a will
You are certainly never too old to outline your final wishes. If you haven’t done this yet, don’t delay. A will offers family members guidance on how you want to spend your last days, freeing them from making difficult choices. You can assign an executor to help carry out your wishes, and a clearly written will can help avoid fights over how to divide your assets. Many families have been broken apart due to spats regarding their inheritance.
It helps to have a will in place while you are still relatively young, but it’s never too late to change a will as long as you are of sound mind. If you have a will already, it may be worth reviewing it periodically to make sure the information is accurate and up to date. (See also: 6 Times You Need to Update Your Will)
8. Saving for college
You can go back to school at any age. But you can also save money for your children, grandchildren, or anyone else who you’d like to see get a degree.
Most states offer college investment plans, known as 529 plans, that allow you to invest money for the purposes of education. You can designate a beneficiary of the funds and that money can be withdrawn tax-free as long as the money is used for qualifying education expenses. Depending on where you live, your contributions may also be tax deductible. The new tax law allows these funds to be used for K-12 schooling as well. (See also: The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans)
9. Starting a business
If you have skills and knowledge built up over a long life, why not make it work for you? Who says retirement has to involve sitting at home and doing crossword puzzles? Maybe you can start a quilting business. Perhaps you can launch a new career investing in real estate. Heck, you can build your own tech startup. At this point in your life you probably have the money, time, and experience to give it a go.
If you have your wits about you, you’re never too old to start a new venture. Obviously, you need to be realistic about how much time and energy you want to devote to a new company, and you should avoid putting your retirement savings at risk. It’s also important to have a clear succession plan in place to ensure the organization will keep running after you are gone. (See also: 5 Questions Retirees Should Ask Before Starting a Small Business)