There are many great things about being over 50. Wisdom and experience are two of them; increased financial options and advantages are others. Yes, today’s over 50s can, if they shop carefully, get some great bargains. These can include advantageous terms for financial services and reduced prices for everything from home decorating to studying for a degree. Leading finance website, Money Saving Expert, has recognized this with its own ‘over 50s’ page. So what are some of the goodies on offer?
The Money Saving Expert article also emphasize the Age UK finding that around five billion pounds worth of state benefits go unclaimed by the over 60s who qualify for them, so make sure you are getting what you are entitled to. A quick chat with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau or Age UK could save you hundreds of pounds a year. Winter Fuel Payment is one example of such a benefit, but there is a wide range.
If you are currently claiming a pension you may be interested to know that one frequently under-claimed benefit is the pension credit: call the government’s pension credit line on 0800 99 1234 for more information and to apply. If you are not yet claiming your pension, do think about whether you would be better off making extra national insurance contributions or deferring your pension for a while, since doing either or both of these can make a considerable difference to your income when you do take your pension.
Make the most of the market
The financial services market is highly competitive, so it is worth shopping around for the best deals. When you are over 50, you have even more options, given the number of specialist providers looking to cater specifically for this group. You will find companies offering car, home and contents insurance over 50s, so have a look around and compare their offers – you may find that they can under-cut other providers by quite some margin.
If you plan to spend some time and money on home improvements, perhaps with a view to making your home perfect for retirement, this is one area where the government may offer a helping hand. There are government grants available for work that improves living conditions for the over 50s, including money towards boilers and insulation. Other organisations and charities offer a range of home-related grants towards expenses such as furniture, heating and bills. Once over 50 you may also be able to get free or subsidised home and fire safety checks, home maintenance services and garden care.
Education is for life
We should never stop learning, so if you have some newly free time, why not use it to study? Many local colleges offer free courses for older learners, and if you fancy doing a degree, the Scholarship Search and Student Cash Point websites can tell you about bursaries, grants and scholarships available. Some of these are only available to over 50s – proving that these days, study really is not just for teenagers!