5 Things retirees can do with their stimulus checks
Stimulus checks being sent to millions of Americans are seen as a lifeline for many. The economic calamity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in massive unemployment, shrinking bank accounts, and tightened family budgets, and the $1200 check can provide a little breathing room while paying for some essentials.
But for retirees who aren’t counting on the check to pay bills because they draw Social Security and can tap retirement savings, there are numerous options to put that stimulus check to good use, says Chris Orestis, the president of LifeCare Xchange.”
“The stimulus money provides an opportunity to help a family member, add savings, pay down debt, or take care of some things you’ve been putting off,” Orestis says. “Retirees should look at their current situation and determine if the money is best used short-term or for future considerations.”
Orestis suggests five ways for retirees to use their stimulus check:
- Bulk up your emergency savings. “The rule of thumb regarding an emergency fund is having enough money in quickly accessible cash to pay for at least three months’ worth of living expenses,” Orestis says. “If your fund is short, add your stimulus check.”
- Invest it in stable places. If a retiree doesn’t absolutely need their stimulus check, it could turn out to be a nice bonus by growing it through investment. “People are understandably hesitant about the volatile stock market now,” Orestis says. “It has bounced back a few times recently and no one should panic sell or buy. Another stable investment is in maintaining a life insurance policy instead of allowing it to lapse. Life insurance policies are a stable asset that guarantee the face value and also have secondary market value if the owner decides to sell it off with a life settlement.”
- Invest in your health. Seniors are among the most vulnerable groups to suffer extreme symptoms from the coronavirus. “Add that to feelings of isolation and not seeing family,” Orestis says, “and it would be productive to spend the stimulus on an activity that would boost their wellness, both physically and mentally. Fitness equipment, an online fitness class, appointments with a social worker for counseling, or perhaps some added technology to help stay connected to loved ones and others.”
- Help a family member. “With so many people hurting financially from this crisis,” Orestis says, “retirees in a good position currently have a wonderful opportunity with these checks to provide added support for loved ones, especially those among the millions now out of work.”
- Spend it on overdue repairs. This is an investment in a way, because spending on a car or home issue that’s relatively inexpensive now could save you from much bigger costs later if those issues are left unattended. “A lot of people put off home projects, car repairs or maintenance because they want to conserve funds and limit retirement withdrawals,” Orestis says. “Your stimulus check could be money well spent to prevent big expenditures.”
“Americans are suffering financially, and seniors aren’t necessarily the exception,” Orestis says. “It’s a welcome bonus for many, so they should be sure to use it, or save it, wisely. Those that have the wiggle room to spend it can make their lives easier through this difficult time.”
About Chris Orestis
Chris Orestis (www.retirementgenius.com) is President of LifeCare Xchange and a nationally recognized healthcare expert and senior advocate. He has 25 years experience in the insurance and long-term care industries, and is credited with pioneering the Long-Term Care Life Settlement over a decade ago. A political insider, Orestis is a former Washington, D.C., lobbyist who has worked in both the White House and for the Senate Majority Leader on Capitol Hill. Orestis is author of the books Help on the Way and A Survival Guide to Aging, and has been speaking for over a decade across the country about senior finance and the secrets to aging with physical and financial health. He is a frequent columnist for Broker World, ThinkAdvisor, IRIS, and NewsMax Finance, has been a featured guest on over 50 radio programs, and has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, NBC News, Fox News, USA Today, Kiplinger’s, Investor’s Business Daily, PBS, and numerous other media outlets.