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65 with no savings

Suze Orman’s Advice if You Are 65 with No Savings Because of College Tuition

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Now you realize that you are broke, and you wonder how you are going to survive in your old age.

So you’re 65 with no savings? How could that be?

Because you worked hard as a parent, sacrificing everything for your children. You sent them to college and contributed to the cost by tapping into your home equity and paying tuition bills, instead of saving for your retirement. Now you realize that you are broke, and you wonder how you are going to survive in your old age. There are strategies, but it will not be easy. Here is Suze Orman’s advice if you are 65 with no savings because of college tuition.

The most important thing to do is to avoid panicking. You really can get through this problem. You will have to change your mindset and make a plan.

Wait to Collect Social Security Benefits

You might think that getting your monthly Social Security retirement benefits as early as possible (at age 62), would be a smart idea because you can then put that money into your 401(k) account, but this plan would backfire on you. You will get around 30 percent less in monthly benefits, if you start collecting at age 62 rather than at full retirement age (which is likely age 66 or 67, depending on your age). If that does not sound like much, imagine trying to make ends meet now on 30 percent less money.

If you wait until age 70 to start getting your benefits, your monthly checks will be eight percent higher for every year that you work past your full retirement age. Working past the age of 70, however, will not add more bonus. Since most people make more money later in their careers than they did in their 20s, the higher contributions to Social Security will also boost your benefits.

Say No to a Reverse Mortgage

When you get a reverse mortgage, you do not get to live in your house for free. You have to continue to maintain your home and pay all the expenses, but you lose the equity. In other words, you have all the work and cost of a house, with very few benefits.

What’s a better alternative if you are 65 with no savings? Instead of a reverse mortgage, Suze recommends that you sell the home now, reduce your monthly expenses by getting a much less expensive place and put any gains from the sale into your retirement savings.

Tell Your Children

Your children are adults now, or close to it. Respect them enough to tell them about your financial situation. You might feel uncomfortable talking about money with your children, and embarrassment that you are not rich, but your children deserve to know what is happening in your life.

Depending on your situation, it might make sense to combine housing costs by you living with one of them or having one of them move in with you. Just make sure that everyone pays their fair share of the expenses. Learning from your situation can help them plan for their retirement.

Make Cuts to Your Spending

Some basic disciplines if you’re 65 with no savings: Keep track of every penny you spend for a month, then sit down and review where your money goes. Cut your spending back to the bare necessities. Do not hold on to an expensive house, until you can no longer afford it. It is bleeding you dry of money with every passing day. Eat at home, instead of going out. Sell one of your cars. Every bit that you can save now will add up. You can do this.


AARP. “Help! I’m 65 and Broke from Paying College Tuition.” (accessed May 8, 2019)