Older Americans Are Anticipating Social Security Cuts. Here Are Some Steps Being Taken to Compensate.

Social Security is facing some financial issues that need to be resolved fairly quickly to avoid benefit cuts. While those cuts aren’t right around the corner, there’s a chance they’ll happen in about 10 years if lawmakers don’t find a way to shore up the program’s finances.

To be clear, Social Security cuts are not set in stone. But in a recent Nationwide survey of older Americans, only 41% of respondents expect the program to exist in its current form for the entire length of their retirement. As such, older Americans are taking steps to compensate for potential benefit cuts. Here’s how.

older americans are anticipating social security cuts. here are some steps being taken to compensate.

Social Security cards.

1. Working a side job

Working a part-time job during retirement could help make up for a smaller Social Security paycheck. And you may find that you enjoy work as a retiree since it’s a way to stay busy and get out of the house.

If you’re not yet retired, working a side job in addition to a primary one could also result in a nice boost to your income. That could make it easier to contribute more to a 401(k) or IRA, thereby leaving yourself with additional retirement income.

2. Creating a budget to reduce spending

Sticking to a budget is important in retirement when you’re on a fixed income. And cutting back on expenses is a great way to compensate for getting less money from Social Security.

But don’t just wait until retirement arrives to start following a budget and spending more mindfully. Instead, start now — even if retirement is pretty far off. If you get used to living below your means, you’ll not only potentially have an easier time saving for retirement, but also have an easier time living on less once that period of life rolls around.

3. Moving somewhere with a lower cost of living

The nice thing about Social Security is that it will pay you the same monthly benefit regardless of where you live. Granted, certain states do tax Social Security, though most don’t. But otherwise, you have a prime opportunity to make the most of your benefits by moving someplace where they’ll go further.

Of course, relocating as a retiree isn’t always easy. It could mean giving up your social network and other comforts. While this could be a good solution for making up for Social Security cuts, it also has its pitfalls.

4. Downsizing

Many retirees and pre-retirees are able to downsize their homes because they’re empty nesters at that point and don’t need the extra space. Now’s a particularly good time to downsize if you have a lot of equity in your home, since U.S. property values are up. But if you’re going to downsize, try to find a replacement home you can pay for in full with the proceeds of the sale of your larger home.

Right now, mortgage rates are pretty elevated. While they’re likely to fall at some point, if you can downsize and set yourself up for a mortgage-free retirement, you might have an even easier time coping with Social Security cuts.

Social Security isn’t guaranteed to slash benefits. Lawmakers may very well come up with a solution to prevent that from happening.

But it’s actually a good thing that older Americans are taking steps to make up for Social Security cuts. While some might call that pessimistic, the reality is that people taking the steps above are going in prepared. That could spare them a world of stress down the line if those cuts occur.

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