Everyone knows about senior discounts at restaurants and retailers, but many overlook some of the greatest benefits and programs available to people in retirement. Unfortunately many people 55+ are missing out entirely, simply because they don't know these programs exist.
That's why we put together this list of the top discounts and benefits for seniors we could find.
Editor's Note: Some of these discounts are only available online, and may not be available for very long. For that reason, we recommend our readers claim their benefits to start saving right away!
1. Those Collecting Social Security Could Consider a "Do-Over" and Get a Benefits Boost
An obscure tax law allows those who collect social security to halt current benefits, pay back everything collected (interest-free), and restart benefits at a new, higher rate based on your current age. It's called "do-over" and it can dramatically increase social security.
Here's how it works... Let's say someone qualifies for full benefits of $1,600 a month at their normal retirement age of 66, but they decide to begin collecting benefits at 62. As a result, their retirement benefits will be reduced by 25% for the rest of their life (to $1,200 a month in this example) because they'll be collecting a smaller benefit for a longer period of time.
On the other hand, if that person delayed collecting benefits, they will receive an 8% credit for every year beyond their normal retirement age until they reach 70, when their maximum benefit will be 132% of what they would have received at age 66. In this example, this person would receive about $2,100 a month at 70 -- a $900 difference!
Most don't realize this option is available to them, but that doesn't mean it's for everyone. Be sure to crunch the numbers and speak with a qualified advisor before doing anything drastic.
2. 2019 Brings the Biggest Social Security COLA Increase in 7 Years
The highlight of the SSA's mid-October announcement is always the "raise" that existing beneficiaries will receive in the upcoming year. This raise is known as the "cost-of-living adjustment," or COLA, and is determined by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
In 2019, Social Security recipients will be receiving a 2.8% COLA, which is the biggest increase since 2012. Instrumental to this raise has been the rising price of energy goods, such as gasoline and fuel oil. The increased cost of shelter (i.e., rent or housing costs), which comprises the largest weighting of any good or service within the CPI-W, also played a key role in pushing Social Security's COLA to a seven-year high.
Keep in mind that a 2.8% COLA doesnt' necessarily represent the true inflation they've faced over the past year. An analysis from The Senior Citizens League found that the purchasing power of Social Security dollars has declined by 34% over the past 18 years, primarily because the CPI-W does a poor job of representing the expenses that seniors contend with.
3. Discounts When Eating Out
If you don’t feel like cooking be sure to turn to these places for good senior dining deals. From fast food to steak restaurants, our compiled restaurant list will definitely help you make your choice.
Keep in mind that deals may vary at participating locations and can change without notice.
- McDonald’s: discounts on coffee and beverages (55+)
- Wendy’s: get free coffee or other discounts depending on location
- IHOP: 10% discount (55+) and a menu for people aged 55 and over at participating locations
- Golden Corral: Senior discount varies by location (Inquire)
- Denny’s: Offers a 55+ menu with smaller portions, and better prices. (We like this a lot!)
- Perkins: Restaurants: Fifty-Five Plus menu Offers special deals (55+)
- Subway: 10% off (60+) varies by location
- Old Country Buffet: Daily discounts for seniors (55+)
- Burger King: 10% discount on purchase depending on location (60+)
- Long John Silver’s: 10% discount or discounted beverage (55+)
4. Save on Groceries
Once you've used your senior discount at all of your favorite restaurants, you'll need to buy some groceries. Lots of stores give a senior discount – you just need to ask.
Keep in mind that discounts and deals may vary and can change without notice.
- Farm Fresh: 5% discount Tuesdays and Thursdays (55+)
- Hy-Vee: depending on location will usually offer 5% discount on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (some stores set age to 65+)
- Fred Meyer: 10% senior discount on the first Tuesday of every month
- New Seasons Market: 10% discount every Wednesday
- Compare Food Supermarket: 10% discount in participating locations, get in touch with your local store to find out more
- Piggly Wiggly: varying discounts at participating locations (inquire)
- Fry's Food: 10% discount on the first Wednesday of every month to all seniors with VIP card.
5. Enjoy a Trip to the Movies With These Senior Discounts
Love seeing a good flick at your local theatre? Here are the top theatre discounts for seniors.
- Regal Theatres: Regal Entertainment Group offers AARP members who are 50 or older a $3.00 discount on a large or small popcorn and soft drink combination purchase.
- AMC Theatres: AMC Theatres offers discounted ticket prices to customers who are 60 or older with valid photo identification.
- Marcus Theatres: Marcus Theatres offers customers who are 60 or older $5 admission to matinees each Friday with valid photo identification.
- Showcase Cinemas: Each Wednesday, Showcase Cinemas offers $7 admission to customers who are 60 or older. The special savings applies to all movie tickets including IMAX, RealD 3D, XPlus, and MX4D.
- Landmark Theatres: Landmark Theatres offers reduced pricing to guests 62 years of age or older with valid identification.
6. Get Discounts On Life Insurance
Unfortunately with every year you age your insurance premium amount rises 8-10%. For some, rising life insurance policy costs can add up significantly. And what's worse is the fact that many have a hard time qualifying for new policies altogether once they reach a certain age.
Fortunately though, there is a way to get a very cheap life insurance policy. You need to compare quotes from multiple insurance companies. This amazing website will let you do that and the best part it is totally free! They will run your information through their technology to automatically find the best life insurance policies available for a much much lower price. You could end up saving up to 70% on life insurance!
No medical check and instant approval policies are also available. Click here to see available plans.
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What's New and Changing for Taxes in 2019
Income tax changes: It's been almost a year since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brought sweeping changes to the American tax system. Since there have been just a few headlines coming out of Washington, DC, since the TCJA was signed, we offer a reminder of changes affecting your tax returns for the 2018 tax year (filed in April 2019) and the 2019 tax year (filed in April 2020).
1. Tax bracket changes: Under the TCJA, there are seven tax brackets for the 2018 tax year, ranging from 10% for taxpayers with incomes below $9,526 ($19,050 for married couples filing jointly) to 37% with incomes above $500,000 ($600,300 for married filing jointly).
For the 2019 tax year, the number of brackets will stay the same - but beginning in 2019, the bracket boundaries will be indexed to inflation based on the Chained Consumer Price index (C-CPI). The brackets will adjust upward by nearly 2%.
Capital gains tax brackets are 0%, 15%, or 20% for the 2018 tax year, with boundaries at $38,600 for single filers ($77,200 joint filers), and $425,800 single ($479,000 joint). As with ordinary tax brackets, capital gains brackets will be indexed for inflation in 2019.
If you're near a boundary line on ordinary or capital gains taxes, check to see if you're likely to switch brackets in 2019 based on expected income/gains. The 2019 bracket boundaries may be found here.
2. Changes to deductions and exemptions: Personal exemptions are now history. To compensate, standard deductions were increased to $12,000 for single filers ($24,000 for married filing jointly) and the child tax credit was doubled to $2,000 per qualifying child. The standard deduction is also indexed to the C-CPI, increasing them by approximately 2% for the 2019 tax year.
The $10,000 cap in state and local tax (SALT) exemptions takes effect for the first time with this April's tax filing. If you're in a high-tax, high-property-value area, be prepared for a larger tax bill.
In 2018, the allowable deduction for medical expenses is 7.5%. For the 2019 tax year, the deduction will revert back to the pre-TCJA values of 10%.
Divorcing couples will see a change beginning in 2019. Currently, alimony payments are tax-deductible for the paying spouse and are taxable income for the receiving spouse. For divorce decrees after December 31, 2018, alimony payments are neither deductible nor considered taxable income.
3. Retirement contribution changes: IRA contribution limits increase from $5,500 in 2018 to $6,000 in 2019, while 401(k) limits increase from $18,500 to $19,000. Catch-up contributions for taxpayers age fifty or above remain unchanged at $1,000 for IRAs and $6,000 for 401(k)s.
4. Healthcare penalty: With the 2019 tax year, the Affordable Care Act's penalty for not having health insurance will finally disappear. (The penalty does apply for tax year 2018 - but you can't fix that now).
5. Changes to witholdings: Taxpayers will receive a surprise in 2019 if they didn't adjust their withholding during the 2018 to account for the TCJA's increase in their take-home pay. Review your withholding at the beginning of 2019 to avoid a tax surprise in April 2020. Failing to pay your taxes or a penalty you owe could negatively impact your credit score. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes by using online services.
You probably dislike keeping up on tax laws, but you probably enjoy nasty tax surprises even less. Get a start on your 2018 filing and your 2019 tax strategy by reviewing new rules. The IRS offers a useful guide to tax changes as they apply to the 2019 tax year.
Even with the TCJA changes, taxes aren't necessarily straightforward. If you need help, consult a qualified tax professional.
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