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11 Financial Perks of Getting Older

From senior discounts to tax breaks, aging can benefit your bottom line


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Getting older has its advantages, especially when it comes to your bank account. That’s because at a certain age, deals abound for everything from travel to education. ​​

​“When you reach 50-plus, you see all these discounts kick in,” says Trae Bodge, a shopping expert at TrueTrae.com. “You have to get over the fact that you need to show ID and ask.”​

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​It makes sense businesses would want to court this group. Slightly more than 34 percent of people in the U.S. are 50 and over, according to a Harvard University study. During the next 20 years, more than 27.7 million people will join this club.​

​Banks and insurance companies also covet older adults and offer them special perks.​

​In many cases, the older you are, the more you’ll save, but even people new to their 50s can score age-related deals. With that in mind, here are 11 examples of when your age pays. ​​

1. Cheaper auto insurance

​It’s true that as you age, your auto insurance premiums rise, but if you are in your 50s or 60s, you may see some of the best savings of your lifetime, according to data from Progressive. Drivers in their 50s and 60s tend to have lower rates because they have decades of experience and their vision is intact. Rates tend to rise again at age 75.​

​On top of that, older adults in many states are eligible for driver discounts if they enroll and complete state-sanctioned driving courses such as the ones offered by AARP, AAA and the National Safety Council (NSC). If you pass, it’s usually good for 10 percent off your liability insurance. ​

How to get the discount: Don’t wait to save. As soon as you turn 50, contact your insurance provider to inquire about the discount. ​

2. Travel deals

​Many hotels offer senior travelers discounts on lodging. You can save at Choice Hotels, Best Western and IHG Hotels & Resorts to name a few. The same goes for flights. Airlines, including Delta and United, offer discounts for older adults, though they’re only available in certain markets. ​

How to get the discount: When booking your room or flight, inquire about discounts. Some hotels and airlines promote mature adult discounts on their websites. ​

​3. Retail discounts​​

From clothing to haircuts, retailers offer discounts to their older patrons. Kohl’s has a 15 percent discount every Wednesday for its 60-plus customers. At Rite Aid, customers 65 and older can earn five times rewards points on the first Wednesday of every month. Pep Boys and Michaels offer people 55-plus a 10 percent discount with valid ID. If you are a member of a discount program such as AARP’s, you can get deals at retailers and service providers around the country. Supermarkets typically pick one day per week to extend a deal to their older shoppers. The discounts range from 5 percent to 10 percent off your grocery bill or select items. ​

How to get the discount: At some retailers, all you have to do is show valid ID; others require you to sign up to their rewards program. Rules for retailers can usually be found on their website. Ask at checkout to ensure you get the deal. ​​

​4. Tax breaks

When you reach 50, there are several tax breaks aimed at you, including stepped up contributions to your IRA, employer-sponsored Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and 401(K)s. The breaks allow you to pay less in taxes and catch up on retirement savings if you have fallen behind.​​

For 2023, the contribution limit is $22,500 for the 401(k), 403(b), most 457 retirement savings plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan. That’s up from $20,500 in 2022. If you are 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $7,500. ​

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The contribution limit for a traditional or Roth IRA is $6,500 for tax year 2023. The catch-up is $1,000, the same as for 2022. It is $3,500 for a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) plan, up from $3,000 in 2022.​

For 2023, you can contribute up to $3,850 to your HSA if you have coverage for yourself, or up to $7,500 for family coverage. The catch-up is an additional $1,000 if you reach 55 during the year.​

The standard deduction, which reduces your taxable income, also increases with age, in this case if you are 65 or older. You get an extra $1,750 deduction for tax year 2022. If you are married filing jointly and both are 65 or older, the standard deduction increases by $2,800. ​

How to get the discount: The onus is on you. Once you reach 50, try to contribute more to your retirement savings accounts to realize more tax savings. ​

​5. Penalty-free withdrawals

Known in the world of taxes as the Rule of 55, this IRS provision lets workers 55 and older who leave their job take distributions from their employer-sponsored retirement plan without facing the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. Outside that, you have to wait until 59-and-a-half to begin withdrawing from your retirement plan penalty-free. ​

How to get the discount: Not every company-sponsored retirement plan offers this provision. Check with your employer and/or plan sponsor before making any withdrawals. ​​

​6. Social Security payments

As early as 62, you can begin receiving monthly Social Security benefits although you won’t be entitled to full benefits until you reach your full retirement age. The longer you wait to begin collecting, the more you’ll receive. If you delay until age 70, you can receive up to 76 percent more. ​​

How to get it: The government runs mySocialSecurity, a free and secure online portal where you can apply for benefits, check the status of your application, estimate future benefits and manage existing ones. If you prefer to complete an application in person or via phone, you can make an appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213. ​

​7. Free transportation

Whether you live in a city or a more rural setting, there are state, local and nonprofit programs available to give older adults free rides. For example, Project CART (Community Arranged Resident Transportation) in New York City offers free rides to residents 60 and older pretty much everywhere, including medical appointments and hospitals, senior centers, shopping centers, museums, places of worship, theaters and cultural events.​

Elder Helpers, one of the biggest volunteer networks in the country aimed at helping older adults, offers free rides courtesy of its more than 10,000 volunteers. ​

How to get the discount: Contact your area agency on aging to find free transportation nearby. These government agencies often take a lead role in coordinating transportation for older adults. Elder Helpers operates a website to match older adults with nearby volunteers. All of the volunteers are vetted. ​

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8. Low- and no-cost education

From state colleges to private institutions, lots of free classes are available for older adults whether you want to hone a skill or pick up a new one. Plus, you don’t have to worry about grades. Many colleges and universities will let you audit a class. ​

The age requirement varies from one institution to the next, but free courses are usually available for people 55 and up. The California State University system provides free tuition for residents 60 and older. Older adults can enroll in regular-session, undergraduate-level courses. ​

Pennsylvania State University operates the GO-60 program, which lets residents 60 and older take undergraduate classes for free. To be eligible, you must work less than 20 hours per week or be retired.​​

How to get the discount: The rules vary, which means you’ll have to do some research on your own by calling the school or visiting its website. ​​

​9. Workouts on the cheap

Depending on your Medicare plan, individuals 65 and older can get access to free gym memberships and online classes through the SilverSneakers plan. ​

How to get the discount: Contact your health insurance plan to find out if SilverSneakers is covered, or check your eligibility online at SilverSneakers.com. If you are eligible, you can fill out the form online to receive and print your membership ID card to bring to participating gyms. ​

10. Reduced-cost mobile phone service

All of the major wireless carriers, including T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T, offer discounts for older adults. If you are 55-plus, you can save as much as 50 percent with T-Mobile’s unlimited Essentials 55 plan. At Verizon, adults 55 and over can save up to $42 a month when they switch to its Senior Phone plan. AT&T charges adults 55-plus $40 a month per line for two lines with unlimited talk, text and data. If you have an AARP membership, the savings are even more. ​

How to get the discount: When signing up for a plan, ask your wireless carrier for older adult discounts. If you already have a service and recently turned 55, ask for a discounted rate. ​

​11. Meals and entertainment deals

Many restaurants offer buy-one-get-one-free deals or early bird specials, or they take a percentage off your bill. The age the discounts kick in generally ranges from 50 to 60. Movie theater chains offer discount days, including at select Cinemark Theatres and Showcase Cinemas. ​

How to get the discount: Before you visit a restaurant or movie theater, check its website or call to see if there is a discount for older diners or viewers. Make sure to alert your server or ticket agent before you order, and check your bill to ensure the discount was applied. ​

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