Retirement is a unique period of life. On the one hand, retirees often enjoy the freedom of not having a job to report to for 40 hours a week or more. On the other hand, retirement can be financially stressful.
A lot of people kick off retirement without a lot of money in savings. And many retirees aren’t entitled to a pension, or at least not a generous one.
As such, it’s not uncommon for retirees to get the bulk of their income from Social Security. And since the average beneficiary today only collects $1,557 a month, it’s easy to see why so many people find themselves strapped for cash in retirement.
It’s for this reason that finding the right credit cards should be a priority for seniors. To be clear, retirees can use credit cards safely just as workers can, provided they pay their balances in full every month (or at least attempt to) to avoid interest charges. And those who do use credit cards should aim to snag the following perks.
Many credit cards offer extra cash back on gas. But since plenty of retirees don’t work, fuel may not be such a big expense for them.
However, all retirees need to eat, so it could pay for seniors to look for credit cards that offer extra cash back at the supermarket all year round. Food costs can vary by season and are also based on factors like inflation that are outside of consumers’ control. Snagging extra cash back on grocery purchases can help people offset rising food costs and better manage their limited incomes during retirement.
2. Money-saving opportunities on travel
People who land in a strong financial position may take the opportunity to travel a lot during retirement — something that becomes a lot easier when reporting to a boss is no longer necessary. Retirees who intend to take a lot of trips should look at credit cards that offer money-saving travel perks. These include free checked bags on flights and discounts on in-flight purchases.
3. A generous but attainable sign-up bonus
Many seniors live on a fixed income, and the only way for them to splurge is to get their hands on extra money. That’s why pursuing sign-up bonuses makes sense for retirees — but within reason.
Some credit card sign-up bonuses are easier to qualify for than others, and it never pays to overspend and rack up debt just to qualify for a modest bit of money in return. But if a credit card offers, say, a $200 sign-up bonus for making $500 in purchases within three months, that’s an offer the typical retiree may be in a decent position to take advantage of. And that $200 could then be used to pay for a small weekend getaway or a trip to see the grandkids — something that may not normally be in the budget.
Many people experience their share of financial stress in retirement. And even for those with healthy nest eggs, the idea of no longer earning money can be a source of discomfort. That’s why it’s essential for retirees to maximize their credit cards, and going after these key perks is a great way to do just that.