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Credit Cards for Seniors

If you are nearing your retirement years, part of your financial planning should be to assess what credit cards will work the best for you and will allow you to pay off any balances quickly.

Paying off credit card debt before retirement

Most financial planners advise seniors to pay off their existing credit card debt before they retire so they won’t have the burden of monthly credit card payments above their regular budget when their incomes become more limited. But it’s essential not to use your retirement savings or investments to accomplish this. Instead, you might consider beginning a pay-down strategy to eliminate any credit card debt within a specific time frame or even work a little longer to pay off your balances. Whichever you choose, you’ll have a happier retirement without the pressure of credit card bills.

Reward programs to fit senior lifestyles

It is well worth investigating the details of the reward programs credit card companies offer to make sure the perks match your lifestyle. If you plan to travel extensively upon retirement, look for cards that offer frequent flyer miles, travel discounts, and airline tickets as rewards. If you’re more interested in rewards that will make managing your budget easier, look for cards that offer gasoline purchase discounts, automobile road services, cash back bonuses, discounts on car insurance, or gift cards from selected retailers.

Credit card companies compete for business with seniors

Because older Americans are more likely to have a proven record of financial responsibility, credit card companies compete for their business. Be sure to investigate every credit card offer you receive to find an attractive combination of low annual percentage rates, reward programs, and incentives such as no annual fees, balance transfers, and cash advances.

Why seniors should keep using credit cards

Preserving an excellent credit history can earn you discounts for everything from auto insurance rates to refinancing loans. And since building good credit is much harder than maintaining it, experts often advise seniors who have strong credit scores to continue using their cards in retirement to stay eligible for preferred rates — whether they need to use credit cards or not. Just pay off the balances in full each month to keep the perks coming and keep your budget under control.