The Best Age 55+ Benefits
June 23, 2021General Retirement
Many benefits accompany your 55th birthday. These benefits are available in almost every facet of life from health, finances, transportation, education, travel, and everyday purchases. Just make sure that you take advantage of them all.
Even though aging comes with plenty of problems such as gray hair, wrinkles, hearing and vision loss, common ailments, and general aches, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're on your last legs. Well, it means that you've reached a passage of life where you've done a lot and worked hard throughout your life and probably looking to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. To make it a lot easier for you, there are perks and benefits offered to senior citizens aged 55 or older.
Forget about the physical problems that come with becoming older, attaining the age of 55 may perhaps mean that you have the financial freedom that eludes younger Americans. There are many benefits that you can take advantage of to make your life as a senior citizen a lot easier.
This article takes a look at the benefits that you can get at the age of 55 or older.
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Senior discounts are one of the major benefits that seniors aged 55 or older get. It's a known fact that seniors are on fixed incomes and senior discounts are an excellent way of ensuring that they can save and prolong their savings. If you're willing to show proof of your age, you may be able numerous discounts on your next visit to the restaurant, to a retail store, to the movies, or the museum. Several businesses across the country offer reduced prices to senior citizens who can show proof that they've attained a certain age.
It can be quite challenging to determine when a senior discount applies. However, AARP often negotiates discounts for its members. Generally, most establishments start providing discounts to 50-year-olds but this can vary from one establishment to the other. These discounts are typically available on necessities such as clothing and groceries. Keep in mind that most senior discounts are not publicized, so it's upon you to ask or request for them. Remember, you have to show proof of your age.
Let's highlight some of the discounts that are available for senior citizens.
Retail Senior Discounts
Many retailers will offer small discounts to seniors as long as you ask for it. These discounts are a perfect way of saving on expensive purchases such as furniture, wheelchairs, hearing aids, clothing, and many more. Some retailers that offer senior discounts include Amazon, Kmart, Walgreens, Kohl's, Rite Aid, Savers, Banana Republic, Home Depot, and many more.
Grocery Senior Discounts
It doesn't matter whether we're young or old; we all have to use groceries. These discounts may be limited but they are still available in various grocery stores including Food Lion, Kroger, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Harris Teeter, Publix, and many more.
Restaurant Senior Discounts
The easiest way to get senior discounts is probably by visiting your favorite restaurant. Almost 90% of restaurants in the United States offer hoards of small senior discounts on special days. While many restaurants will advertise these senior discounts, be sure to ask for the available senior discounts just in case they're not publicized. The list of restaurants includes but is not limited to Taco Bell, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, Subway, Dairy Queen, and many more.
Let's be honest, we all love going out and enjoying sumptuous meals. Of course, the age doesn't matter so as a senior, you can take advantage of these restaurant discounts and eat out as much as you can.
Entertainment Senior Discounts
Entertainment is a crucial part of a senior citizen's life. You're probably retired and have the whole time in the world to indulge in various forms of entertainment. As such, there are various entertainment senior discounts to explore. They include Cinemark, AMC, Regal Cinemas, Disneyland, Disney World, and Marriott.
In essence, there are a whole lot of senior discounts. So whenever you're out there looking to spend your money, just make sure that you ask if there are discounts meant for senior citizens.
Tax Deductions for Senior Citizens
There are extra tax breaks that senior citizens are entitled to once they attain the age of 50 or 55. If you're employed, you can defer or avoid taxes by using various retirement and health savings accounts. So as you age, here are some superb ways to save with tax deductions.
All taxpayers have the option of either taking the standard tax deduction or itemize personal deductions on the IRS schedule. Seniors can take the standard tax deduction on various things such as home mortgage interest, charitable contributions, real estate taxes, and even your medical expenses. With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act already in effect, 90% of all taxpayers, including senior citizens can take a tax deduction. The standard deduction for seniors is generally $1,650 higher than the deduction for younger people.
Investment Tax Breaks
Whether or not you're using a broker to manage your investments, it's highly likely that you may have to pay higher investment fees and incur huge expenses if you're older. This is because you might be transferring assets or funds from one retirement account and this, of course, comes with various charges.
Fortunately for senior citizens, you can deduct these expenses and charges from your gross income before taxes are taken into account. If anything, it can be wise to cater to your investment expenses in the tax year when your adjusted gross income (AGI) is much less. This is essential in giving you the most tax break when calculating the deductible portion of the expenses related to your investments as a senior citizen.
Many senior citizens often look for ways to give back to society, especially when they feel that they have more than enough to live on for the rest of their lives. If you are thinking of a great way of reducing your taxes, give back to society in the form of charity.
If you donate property other than cash to a qualified organization, you are allowed to deduct the fair market value of the property. You may have to work out some adjustments if the property has appreciated value.
Medical and Dental Expenses
Aging often comes with various health complications that can lead to higher healthcare spending. Luckily, seniors who are dealing with excessive medical costs can get tax breaks. If your medical expenses are more than 7.5% of your AGI, you can get tax breaks. Similarly, senior citizens aged 55 or older and have high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), as well as Health Savings Account can have an increased tax deduction.
Tax-Free Social Security Income
Depending on the amount of taxable income you generate as a senior citizen, some of your Social Security benefits may be tax-free. For example, your Social Security income will not be deducted if it's below $25,000.
There are many tax-free benefits that being 55 or older can bring to your basket. The best thing is to do thorough research and get to know the available tax breaks.
One of the leisurely things that senior citizens can indulge in is traveling. In other words, many seniors are planning to travel the world after retiring as it's a perfect chance to finally see the world in their golden years. Whether you're looking to travel the world or just around the country, there are a lot of travel deals that can be beneficial to senior citizens aged 55 and above. Let's highlight some of them.
If you love using public transport, you could save a substantial amount of money by taking advantage of these travel discounts. Some of the airlines that offer some of the best deals to seniors include American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Delta, Southwest Airlines, and many more. So before booking a flight, it's important to ask whether or not your chosen airline offers senior discounts.
While many big-name hotels do not offer extensive discounts for seniors, you can still get incredible discounts but this may depend on the time of year. Some of the hotels to look at include Candlewood Suites, Best Western, Days Inn, Hilton Hotels, Four Seasons, Holiday Inn Hotels, Drury Hotels, and many more.
Retirement Account Limits
For workers aged 50 or older, it's acceptable to defer on paying income tax on as much as $26,000 as long as you contribute the amount to your 401(k) account. This means that senior citizens aged 55 or older have the chance of deferring $6,500 more than their younger counterparts. Again, the IRA contribution limit is $1,000 higher for senior citizens.
The only caveat is that seniors are expected to withdraw money from traditional retirement accounts, and this means that they'll pay the subsequent tax bill after reaching 70. Luckily, seniors have been allowed to skip the required minimum distributions for 2020 as part of the Coronavirus relief bill. If you're aged 70 or older, you can avoid having to pay income tax on any amount up to $100,000 provided that the amount is transferred from a qualifying IRA account. That's not all; you're also allowed to have a high-deductible health plan and even deposit an extra $1,000 to your health savings account.
There are No Early Withdrawal Penalties
Although this may mean that you have to wait for another 4 years to reach the age of 59 and a half, you'll be happy not to pay the 10% withdrawal penalty from any of your IRA accounts. But if you retire at 55, you'll be permitted to access and withdraw from your 401(k) account without attracting penalties that are often associated with early withdrawals.
We have to note that penalties that are associated with early withdrawals will not be enforced in 2020 due to the Coronavirus relief bill.
As a senior citizen, there are times you'll want to go shopping for yourself, your kids, friends, or grandkids. Several big-name shopping stores offer shopping perks to seniors aged 55 and above. It generally depends on the day of the week as many stores offer senior discounts on specific days of the week. For this reason, you should be updated on when these perks are available.
National Park Discounts
One of the things that you've probably been planning to tick off your bucket list is visiting the national parks to enjoy beautiful sceneries. Several national parks across the country provide incredible discounts for seniors aged 55 or older. Senior citizens are offered lifetime entrance passes to all various national parks across the country at $10. There are also huge discounts for other activities such as boating, campgrounds, and many more.
Free Legal Advice
AARP, which you can join if you're aged 50 or older, ensures that its members can take advantage of free legal advice from a real lawyer to help them solve their legal problems. AARP has a legal service network in almost every area in the U.S. to help its members with their legal problems for free.
Reduced Insurance Premiums
Even though many insurance companies feel that aging is an insurance risk, attaining the age of 55 means that you qualify for the AARP Driver Safety course that offers discounts on your annual car premiums. Some states mandate this discount in their laws, so you should check if it's law in your state.
Lower Property Taxes
We have to note that this benefit may not be enjoyed by 55-year-olds as they're still considered too young to enjoy it. This revolves around what's known as the Senior Citizens' Exemption that applies to low-income seniors who are aged 65 and above. So if you're aged 65 or older but have an annual income of less than $29,000, you can be permitted to deduct up to 50% of property taxes that you should be paying on your primary residence.
Free Continuing Education
If you've been planning to continue with your education after attaining the age of 55, you can take advantage of the Senior Citizens' Higher Education Act. This allows you to go back to college and take a course without having to pay tuition. Keep in mind that this benefit is income-based and you'll only qualify for free courses if your taxable income for the previous year does not exceed $15,000. If you do not qualify for the free courses because you have more income, you can target a credit-earning course and pay just a portion of the tuition.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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We love planning for retirement. It's somewhat of a hobby, and we want to share what we've learned with you. Over the years we've found the best ways to live, how to travel, take on new hobbies and give back. Happiness in retirement is the main goal, and having the right information allows us (and you) to achieve that.
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