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7 Things That Cost More For Older People

05/09/2015 06:13 am ET | Updated May 09, 2015
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Nothing beats saving money on a hotel room with the AARP discount or getting a few bucks shaved off the price of a movie ticket. But not everything gets cheaper as you get older. In fact, there are a number of things that actually become more expensive. Here are seven of them:

1. Car insurance.
You know that chirpy woman in the Progressive Insurance commercial who keeps saying you should have tried Progressive? Yeah, well just try getting a quote from her if you're an 80-year-old driver. Car insurance rates are higher for people over 70, according to DMV.org, and for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control says that higher costs of insuring this age group come in part because older adult have impaired vision, poorer cognitive functioning, changes in physical functioning (such as arthritis and the use of prescription drugs). Older adults are likely to sustain more serious and costly injuries as the result of being in an accident.

The rates of seniors rival those of teenagers. But unlike teens, there are a few things that older drivers can do about it. Some insurance companies give discounts to "mature" drivers -- ages vary by company. Drivers must have a clean driving record and only drive a certain number of miles a year to qualify. They also offer refresher courses, which if taken, can reduce your premiums. It pays to shop around.

2. Life insurance.
Let's be honest here. If you get life insurance through work, you probably have never given much thought to buying it on your own. And by the time you do, you can pretty much forget about being able to afford it. Again, the reason is obvious: Older people have more health issues than younger ones. The closer you get to death, the higher your premium will be.

3. Trip insurance.
You have probably always wondered who buys this, right? Older people do. They don't want to see their hard-saved money go to waste if something should happen to them on the eve of a big trip. Since, in the minds of travel insurance companies, the ones most likely to cancel their travel plans are those 65 or older, that's who they charge the highest rates to.

It of course raises the larger question of whether trip insurance is worth it in the first place. Most airlines offer refundable fares (for a higher rate) and many hotels allow cancellations without penalties up until 24 hours before check-in. There is also the travel insurance that kicks in if you require medical services while on vacation. Medicare is accepted in all 50 states, but generally speaking, not outside the country. If you are on a cruise ship in U.S. waters, you're covered; if you are in international waters, nope. Some Medigap policies do cover foreign travel, so if traveling is on your bucket list, it's worth checking before you go.

4. Cold weather.
If this past winter taught us one thing, it's that we don't actually keep better in the cold. Older people have increased sensitivity to the cold because of factors like poor circulation. Certain medications also impact their sensitivity to the cold. For example, beta blockers, which decrease the heart rate, also can reduce blood circulation to the feet and hands. High cholesterol reduces blood flow too. Thyroid conditions can impact a person's ability to regulate their body temperature.

So yes, older people get colder. And that means they turn up the heat more or they become snowbirds -- the people who flock to warm weather when the northeast is doing its Antarctica impression. It all costs money. Winter homes in Florida, Las Vegas or Arizona may bring a smile to your frostbitten face, but maintaining two homes is expensive.

5. Mortgages.
Age is a protected category within the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a federal law that also bars credit discrimination based on a borrower's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status or receipt of public assistance benefits. So you'd think a retiree would be able to take out a mortgage loan at the most favorable rate based on their credit score, right? Maybe, maybe not. In order to qualify for a loan, you have to show proof of sufficient income -- at any age. Some older people still earn paychecks or are self-employed. Others use Social Security benefits, pensions, capital gains from investments, interest income or property rents to qualify, notes BankRate. One issue that banks look at is what happens to a surviving spouse if the pension-holding spouse dies. Some pensions have a one-time survivor benefit of a few thousand dollars or less -- and then that's that. People on fixed incomes without a lot of breathing room in their budgets are tough risks for a mortgage. While the monthly mortgage amount might be fixed, few other expenses in life are. If your income is stagnant and all your bills grow, you will be living on less as the years progress. Banks prefer that you have income that grows along with inflation.

And in the U.K., mortgage approval for older people may be an even more daunting task.

According to a Saga Personal Finance poll of more than 6,000 people over 50 in the U.K., 12 percent said they were refused a more favorable mortgage loan rate because of their age. Many older people said their bank or mortgage provider have set arbitrary upper age limits on lending criteria and prevent older borrowers from getting better deals.

One such lender is HSBC, which was officially reprimanded for age discrimination after telling a couple in their forties that they were too old to get a mortgage. The Financial Ombudsman Service ruled HSBC was wrong and unfair to refuse the couple’s mortgage application because the husband would have turned 65 by the time the mortgage would need to have been paid off.

5. Kids.
You probably thought that outfitting a baby was an expensive proposition. Just wait until they get older. Adult children who move back home have financial needs and no income to meet them. They need room and board. They need a car and a car must have insurance. They need their cell phones, which you can conveniently add to your plan. They need an interview outfit if they hope to find a job; plus a good haircut.

6. Finding love.
TinderPlus' new undo feature -- when you swiped in the affirmative but didn't mean it -- costs $9.99 per month for users up to 29-years-old. But for anyone over 30, Tinder wants double -- $19.99 per month. Tinder's logic is that older people have higher incomes and will be more frantic to erase a mis-swipe. The more budget-constrained may need a lower price to entice them to this feature.

Previously, Tinder was free to use. TinderPlus also has a new feature for finding matches in other cities and countries rather than relying on a geographical radius.

7. Scams.
Seniors are the prime target of scammers. If you ever wondered who actually answers those emails from Nigeria, it was most likely a senior. The National Council on Aging says that financial scams targeting seniors are so prevalent that they’re now considered “the crime of the 21st century.”

Many of the scams play directly to the fear that the elderly are losing their memories. They accuse you of forgetting to pay a bill or not remembering that you hired them to replace the roof. Scam callers pretend they know you and say things like "Don't you remember?" Other scams come in the form of email from your "grandson" who is turning to you for help and adding the admonition "please don't tell my Mom."

Even death doesn't end the scamming. The FBI warns that scammers read obituaries and call the grieving widow or widower claiming the deceased had an outstanding debt with them. And disreputable funeral homes try to capitalize on family members’ unfamiliarity with the considerable cost of funeral services to add unnecessary charges to the bill. Some funeral directors will insist that a casket, one of the most expensive parts of funeral services, is required even if the body is being cremated. It is not.

In the current crop of scammer calls, someone says that charges are about to be filed against you for tax evasion or fraud. The caller claims to be with the IRS.

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