How Does Working Longer Affect Your Social Security Benefits?

If you’re like many seniors, Social Security benefits will make up the majority of your income during retirement. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, half of older Americans rely on Social Security for at least 50% of their income, and 25% rely on it for 90% of their income.

You may be working longer, too. U.S. workers between 62 and 65 are working at the highest rates since data began being recorded in the 1960s. And those over 65 are about twice as likely to be working today as those in 1985, with around 20% still in the workforce (though there was a slight downturn during the pandemic).

To me, the first set of statistics highlights the importance of Social Security benefits to your retirement life — and the need to maximize those benefits. The number of Americans working longer tells me that a lot of you may want to know how working longer can affect your benefits, and how you can make the most of those earning years.

Social Security & Working Past ‘Retirement’

Some people who work longer delay receiving Social Security benefits so those benefits can grow. As you probably know, you can increase your Social Security benefits by delaying the date at which you begin receiving them. In other words, the longer you wait to collect your benefits, the bigger your benefit (until age 70, at which point they stop growing). You can use the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s calculator to figure out how much you could earn by waiting.

I think there’s another, unsung perk to working longer: You could increase your benefits by delaying credits and by bumping up the earnings numbers used to calculate those benefits. Social Security calculates your monthly benefit by using your 35 highest-earning years (until age 70). As long as you keep working and paying into Social Security, your earnings record will keep being updated. If the money you make in later years outweighs what you made earlier, your benefits will increase accordingly.

Some Pros to Working Longer (And a Few Heads-Up)

Working past the more traditional retirement age of 65 may boost more than your Social Security benefits.

  • Any future spousal benefits would increase, too.
  • You may stay sharper. Several studies show that people demonstrate higher mental acuity if they continue to work. These studies show it’s likely due to the social networks and mental challenges of work.
  • You may save money by sticking with your employer’s healthcare instead of using Medicare, especially if your spouse is covered by your plan and not eligible for Medicare. The rules around signing up for Medicare can be complicated, but Medicare.gov says, “Generally if you have job-based health insurance through your (or your spouse’s) current job, you don’t have to sign up for Medicare while you (or your spouse) are still working. You can wait to sign up until you (or your spouse) stop working, or you lose your health insurance (whichever comes first).” There are exceptions, though, and you may want to consider delaying Part B but sign up for Part A because it’s free. Be aware: If you enroll in Medicare, even just Part A, you can’t contribute to a health savings account.

A Few Additional Heads-Up

If you have traditional retirement accounts, you may run into some required minimum distribution (RMD) issues. Thanks to the 2019 SECURE Act, you don’t have to begin withdrawing RMDs until April 1 of the year after you reach 72, but if you’re still working at that point, your RMD income could bump you into a higher income tax bracket.

You’ll have to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits if your total income is over $25,000 if filing as a single person or $32,000 if you’re married and filing a joint return. Your annual income (including any income from RMDs) will determine the percentage of your Social Security benefits that are subject to income tax.

In addition, higher earners might pay more for Medicare Parts B and D. As mentioned earlier, you could stick with your employer’s healthcare plan to avoid this issue.

Another thing to think about: You can “unretire” after signing up for Social Security, within limits. Changed your mind and want to delay retirement benefits and earn credits instead? If you change your mind within 12 months of taking your benefits, you can request a withdrawal of benefits and take them later when you qualify for a larger benefit. There’s a caveat though — you’ll have to repay all the benefits you and any family members received. If it’s been longer than a year since you started receiving your benefits, you’ll have to wait until your full retirement age to ask for a suspension of benefits.

Should You Work Longer?

When making this decision, I suggest you consider not just your financial situation, but also:

  • Health: Think about your health — and that of your spouse — and your healthcare needs. As mentioned earlier, working later in life can be beneficial to your mental health, but how does it affect your physical health? And how is your spouse’s health? Do they need more help around the house? Do you need to continue working to help pay for medical treatments? Don’t forget to consider the fact that time spent at work is time away from your family.
  • Longevity: Do you come from a long-lived family? Working longer and delaying taking Social Security will both boost your retirement income, which is extra important for those with long life expectancies ahead of them. I suggest you plan to make your money last as long as you do.
  • Your job: Do you like it? Does it make you feel younger?

And of course, take your salary into account. Though ageism in the workplace can be a problem, it may not be an issue for everyone. Some companies may value the experience and wisdom of older workers. In fact, the median earnings of working Americans ages 62 to 65 exceed those of younger workers.

All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author, Ken Moraif, as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Ken Moraif is a controlling owner and investment adviser representative of MMWKM Advisors, LLC, doing business as Retirement Planners of America (RPOA), which is an SEC registered investment adviser. Registration as an investment adviser is not an endorsement by securities regulators and does not imply that RPOA has attained a certain level of skill, training, or ability. Ken Moraif has worked in the financial services industry since 1988 and has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional since 1998. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and federally registered CFP in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. Readers should not rely on this content as the sole basis for any Social Security, financial planning, investment, or related decisions. A professional adviser should be consulted and/or independent due diligence should be conducted before implementing any of the options directly or indirectly referenced. This article should not be construed as a solicitation to render personalized investment advice. Retirement Planners of America makes no warranty, express or implied, for any decision taken by any party in reliance upon the information discussed. While information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, Retirement Planners of America does not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed.

CEO and Senior Adviser, Retirement Planners of America

Ken Moraif, CFP, is CEO and senior adviser at Retirement Planners of America, a Dallas-based wealth management and investment firm with over $4.3 billion in AUM and serving over 8,000 households (as of May 2019). He is also the host of the radio show “Money Matters with Ken Moraif,” which has offered listeners retirement, investing and personal finance advice since 1996.

Source: kiplinger.com

Where to Find Low-Cost and Free Mental Health Services

When you have poor or no health insurance, you might prioritize other issues over mental health care. A single session with a therapist could cost $100 to $300 or more, which can be a major burden — or just an impossible cost — for a lot of people.

This could mean ignoring undiagnosed issues or skipping treatment you know you need. Even if you don’t suffer from mental health issues, you might neglect your need for support through a major life event when you see the cost of therapy.

As with any physical ailment, not seeking mental health care could be detrimental to your health in the long term, so we want to help you find the care you need with whatever resources you have.

12 Ways to Find Free or Low-Cost Mental Health Services

Instead of forgoing care or winding up in debt over medical bills, try these options to find affordable or free counseling and other mental health care services.

1. Find a Training Clinic

Like other areas of health and medicine, students need to practice working with the public before they become clinical or counseling psychologists.

That’s good news for any of us who want to save money on therapy.

Training clinics are usually located near or as part of universities. You’ll attend sessions with a graduate student supervised by a licensed psychologist. These clinics typically charge on a sliding scale (which could be as low as $0, if that’s where your scale slides…)

To find one near you, you can browse the Association of Psychology Training Clinics for member clinics. Or just search “[your city] psychology training clinic.”

2. Visit a Community Mental Health Center

Community mental health centers may offer access to support groups, individual counseling or resources to learn more about your mental health concerns.

Find a center through the Department of Human Services at your state’s government website.

You can also find services through private nonprofit organizations. YMCA offers low-cost and sliding scale behavior health and family services for kids and adults. Look for counseling and mental health services through your local Y.

3. Attend a Support Group

While you miss out on the personalized care and complete anonymity of private sessions, support groups can be the perfect solution for free or low-cost therapy.

Organizations like the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) host free community support groups in person or online.

If you want to work with a particular therapist but can’t afford private sessions — because you lost insurance coverage, for example — ask if they offer group sessions. These should come at a lower rate you could potentially afford out of pocket.

4. Negotiate and Ask for Discounts

You might not realize it, but your medical bills are totally negotiable. By a lot.

Don’t be afraid to lowball here — this isn’t a business deal, so you don’t have to worry about making a bad impression.

When you receive a bill for services, contact the provider to simply let them know you can’t afford it. They may be willing to cut the cost by more than half if you can pay a chunk upfront.

If you don’t have the cash handy, ask for a payment plan. Get on it before the bill goes to collections, and ask for a monthly payment you can handle.

This illustration shows someone seeing a therapist online.
Getty Images

5. See a Therapist Online

Telehealth (or telemedicine) is convenient for a lot of people and could save you a ton of money on health care.

Through an app like Teladoc, you can meet with a health care professional for physical or mental health issues for a fraction of the cost — and time — of a trip to the clinic. Telemedicine doctors can diagnose, recommend treatment and even prescribe medication if necessary.

Or opt for a subscription to a therapy app like Talkspace or BetterHelp. You get access to a licensed therapist via audio or text messaging, or live video chat for around $60 to $150 per week, paid monthly.

6. Lean on Your Spiritual Community and Leaders

If you’re involved with an organized religious group, you could find the help you need within that community.

Does your organization host free support groups or retreats where you can connect with others in your situation? Maybe your minister or other leaders in the community offer free individual or couples counseling.

If you’re worried about opening up about your struggles within a small community, remember: Everyone coming to group therapy is looking for help, just like you are.

7. Use Services at Your School or College

College or university students and faculty often have access to health care services through their schools. Your tuition and fees subsidize them, so you might as well take advantage!

Children enrolled in a K-12 school may have access to sessions with a school counselor, as well. Lean on these options when your family can’t afford private mental health services.

8. Consult the Internet

Going online to self-diagnose your ailments is no replacement for professional diagnosis and treatment.

But if you already know what you’re dealing with, consulting a relevant association’s website could help when you have questions and lack access to a doctor.

For example, if you suffer from anxiety, you can find reliable resources at these websites:

Some people also find online forums like Reddit (content warning: suicide) or Facebook groups useful for connecting with other people who understand your situation.

Just be careful to take suggestions from random individuals with a grain of salt, and never rely on them for a diagnosis or medical advice

9. Call NAMI

If you prefer to speak with someone directly, you can call the NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to get answers about symptoms, treatments and resources. The Helpline itself doesn’t offer counseling, but it can help you connect with programs in your area.

10. Check Your Employee Benefits

Some companies and government agencies offer something called an employee assistance program (EAP), which could cover some free counseling sessions, among other benefits.

Check with an HR representative to learn whether your organization offers this kind of benefit and ask how you can take advantage of it.

In some cases, the available counselor is someone working as a consultant with your company and may consult with company leadership as well as counseling employees. They’re likely bound by certain confidentiality requirements, but if you have any concern about your privacy in the workplace, state those requirements in advance.

11. Stop by an LGBTQ Center

If you’re seeking safe and affirming support as an LGBTQ person, look for local LGBTQ centers and support or advocacy organizations. They might offer support groups, access to counseling or resources for LGBTQ-friendly care.

You can search “LGBTQ center in [your city or town],” or browse these resources:

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shares a list of LGBTQ support and advocacy groups.
  • The Trevor Project, focused on LGBTQ youth support, offers a crisis line you can call, text or chat online with. It also offers text, chat and phone counseling.
  • Find a PFLAG chapter near you for support for LGBTQ people, friends and families.

12. Join a Therapy Collective

Open Path is a nonprofit psychotherapy collective that offers low-cost counseling for people with financial need.

You can join the collective for a one-time fee of $59, then receive care for between $30 and $60 per session (up to $80 for couple and family sessions).

The collective lets you search for therapists in your area or speak with someone online, so you should be able to find the help you need no matter where you live.

OpenPath doesn’t require income verification for membership, but it asks that you only use the service if you’re uninsured, underinsured, have a household income less than $100,000 a year or otherwise can’t cover market rates for therapy.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

5 Budget-Friendly Staycation Ideas For The Summer

Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further

Summer is typically a time when many families look to take some time off. With school out, the traditional “summer vacation” brings back memories of kids stuffed in the back of a minivan, on the road to some exotic (or less-than-exotic) destination. As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more families are looking for ideas to get out of the house without having to travel too much. 

For most vacations, the two biggest costs are lodging and the travel costs to get to the final destination. Planning a staycation minimizes or eliminates these two costs, helping you to have a great time while keeping things budget-friendly. Here are a few budget-friendly staycation ideas for the summer.

What is a Staycation?

A staycation is a portmanteau of the words “stay-at-home” and “vacation” and is, as the name implies, a way to take a vacation without traveling too much. Staycations can come in many different flavors. In some staycations, you take a variety of day trips but return each night to your own home. In other staycations, you might travel to more local or regional destinations instead of going too far.

Be a Tourist in Your Own City

One of the most popular staycation ideas is to be a tourist in your own city. To take a staycation like this, you might look at some of the top things to do in your city. Look at your city not as a resident, but as a tourist — what would a tourist do if they only had a few days to visit your hometown? 

Chances are good that even if you’ve lived there for many years you may not have seen all of those attractions. Take a few days to visit some of those sites and see your city from a fresh new perspective. A few years ago, my family and I spent a few days touring our hometown of Cincinnati like tourists. We went to the top of the tallest building in the city, visited the US Air Force Museum, saw a Cincinnati Reds game, and had a great time. Each night we came back home and stayed in our own beds.

Camping

Another staycation idea is to hit the great outdoors. While camping may bring back traumatic memories of childhood summer camps gone bad, there are a lot of different ways to camp these days. In addition to a traditional tent in a campsite, many state and national parks offer cabins and other “glamping” experiences that you might enjoy more. That can give you the right mix of both outdoor and indoor comforts.

Movie Night

Another budget-friendly staycation idea for this summer is to have a movie night (or two). In order to make a movie night more of a staycation, consider how you can spice things up a bit. You don’t want to just turn on Netflix for a few hours and call it a movie night! Some ideas include renting a projection screen, moving your movie night outside, or combining movie night with a special dinner.

Visit the Beach

A day at the beach is something that many people enjoy and can be a great thing to include in any staycation. Of course, how you might visit a beach will depend quite a bit on where you actually live. Still, even if you don’t live near the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, you can still include a beach day on your vacation. Consider spending the day at a nearby lake or river, or even just visiting a local swimming pool.

Food Tour in Your Own City

Another great staycation idea is to have a food tour in your own city. Many cities have sponsored food tours or tours that you can pay for. Depending on your budget, interests, or the number of people in your family, that can be an option. But if you’re looking to keep things under budget, consider doing your own city food tour. Depending on where you live and how long you’ve lived there, you probably already know the restaurants and foods your city is famous for. Take a day and visit a few of them to make your own food tour at a fraction of the cost.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to your mental health to be able to take a break from the regular daily grind and get away for a bit. But taking a vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. The two biggest costs for most vacations are your lodging costs and the travel costs to get to your destination. Planning a staycation minimizes or eliminates these two costs, helping you to stay within your budget while still having a great time.

Which of these staycation ideas do you like most? What would you add to the list?

Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further

Dan Miller

Dan Miller is a freelance writer and founder of PointsWithACrew.com, a site that helps families to travel for free / cheap. His home base is in Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and 6 kids. More from Dan Miller

Source: mint.intuit.com

These 14 Major Employers Offer Part-Time Jobs With Benefits

Think you need to work long hours to qualify for company-backed retirement plans, tuition reimbursements and affordable health insurance?

Actually, you don’t have to have to be a full-time employee to get those perks. There are many companies that offer generous benefit packages for their hourly part-time employees.

These 14 companies lead the way in offering part-time jobs with benefits. You could land a flexible role that also allows you to attend school, take care of family or do whatever you please.

14 Companies That Offer Part-Time Jobs With Benefits

If you’re looking for part-time work, start your job hunt with these employers.

1. Costco

Hourly part-time employees can receive benefits from Costco once they’ve accumulated 450 hours. Healthcare coverage includes medical, vision, prescription drugs and core dental coverage.

All hourly employees working at least 10 hours per week can enroll in voluntary short-term disability insurance, which provides tax-free income replacement in the event of a non-work related accident or illness that prevents work.

2. Lowe’s

Part-time employees at Lowe’s are immediately eligible for medical benefits, including prescription drugs, short-term disability, life insurance and dental and vision coverage..

After one year, Lowe’s offers an employee stock purchase option to its part-time workers, as well as a 401(k) after 180 days. Eligible family members can also opt-in for group medical, dental and vision coverage and dependent life insurance.

3. REI

Part-time employees at REI become eligible for a benefits package if they work an average of 20 hours per week over a 12-month evaluation period.

The company pays the majority of employees’ medical and dental coverage and the full cost for basic life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), employee assistance program, business travel accident insurance and long-term disability insurance.

REI also provides a generous PTO package, a wide variety of leave options, and “Yay Days” twice a year – a program that allows employees to take part in their favorite outdoor activity,  take on something new or participate in a stewardship project.

They also offer a public transit benefit which provides a 50% pre-tax subsidy on public transit expenses up to the current IRS limit through payroll deduction.

4. Staples

Staples offers its part-time associates access to dental and vision coverage, life, dependent life, accidental death and short-term disability insurance coverage. They’re also eligible for the company’s 401(k) plan after one year and 1,000 hours of service.

Stick with the company for a year and average 30 hours per week, and you’ll be eligible to enroll in a full-time medical plan. Staples also offers 10% employee discounts on online or retail items, adoption assistance and its own confidential employee counseling program.

A Starbucks employee holds a drink up while working the drive through counter at Starbucks.
Photo courtesy of Starbucks

5. Starbucks

Starbucks is well-known for its benefits program for part-time employees. All you have to do to be eligible is work at least 240 hours over three consecutive months, then continue to average 20 hours per week.

Health coverage offered by Starbucks includes routine visits, hospitalization and more, along with dental,vision and life insurance coverage. Alternative care options, like acupuncture or chiropractic treatment, are covered too. After 90 days, employees can opt-in to Starbucks’ 401(k) plan.

Other employee benefits include up to a $10,000 reimbursement for adoption expenses, confidential counseling, full tuition reimbursement, and one pound of Starbucks coffee or Teavana tea every week!

6. UPS

Part-time employees who work between 225 and 400 hours at UPS within a three month period are eligible for medical and dental coverage, vision insurance, hearing, prescription drugs and an employee assistance program.

Part-time employees who exceed 400 hours over three months are eligible for the same benefits as full-time employees.

Part-time employees can also take advantage of the Earn and Learn tuition assistance program  that provides up to $5,250 in assistance per calendar year (with a lifetime maximum of $25,000). Eligibility begins on the day of hire.

7. Trader Joe’s

After three months and working an average of 30 hours per week, Trader Joe’s “crew members” are eligible for medical, dental and vision coverage at a cost as low as $25 per month.

The company also offers a matching 401(k) plan and contributes 10% of a crew member’s salary annually to the plan, according to an employee.

Other employee benefits include a 20% store discount, scholarship programs, store tastings, employee assistance programs and paid relocation and transfers.

8. Aerotek

Aerotek is one of the world’s leading staffing agencies. Part-time employees who work a minimum of 20 hours per week are eligible for contributory medical, dental and vision insurance.

The company also offers a 401(k) and 529 plan, a tuition reimbursement after six months, dependent care flex spending accounts, a free counseling service and an employee discount program with Aerotek’s many retail partners.

9. Chipotle

All hourly crew members at Chipotle are eligible for its robust benefits package that includes medical, vision and dental insurance, as well as a 401(k) match after one year of employment.

Part-time employees also receive a salary percentage-based annual bonus, mental health assistance, education assistance up to $5,250 annually, stock purchase plan, gym membership discounts and one free meal per shift. Free burritos on Chipotle!

10. JPMorgan Chase

The global banking institution offers benefits to its part-time employees, after 90 days, who work between 20 and 40 hours per week.

Benefits include medical, dental, vision, life and accident, disability, before-tax flexible spending accounts and group legal services. JPMorgan Chase also offers a 401(k) match starting at 3% annually and increasing by 1% every year up to a maximum of 10%.

Other offered benefits are an employee stock purchase plan, a comprehensive health and wellness program, parental leave, backup child care options and discounts on banking services.

A postal office workers loads a cart around with letters to post office trucks.
Letter carriers load mail trucks for deliveries at a U.S. Postal Service facility in McLean, Va., Friday, July 31, 2020. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

11. USPS

The United States Postal Service hires career and non-career (temporary/seasonal) workers. Part-time career workers are eligible for its benefits package which includes the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program – a plan in which the federal government pays two-thirds of the health insurance premiums for employees and retirees.

They also offer federal group life insurance (FGLI), and federally-backed long-term care, dental and vision and a flex spending account.

The USPS retirement system, also available for part-time career workers, offers a fixed annuity based on years of service, a defined contribution 401(k) THRIFT Savings Plan with a 5% employer match and Social Security.

12. Wal-Mart

Part-time and temporary associates at Wal-Mart who work an average of at least 30 hours per week over a 60-day period are eligible for benefits.

After the initial 60 days, associates must wait another 60 days to enroll. Once you enroll you’re eligible for the remainder of the calendar year as well as the year after. Benefits include medical, dental, vision, AD&D, critical illness insurance and accident insurance, as well as a 6% 401(k) match after one year and a 10% in-store discount.

Wal-Mart also offers Resources for Living – a free counseling service that offers unlimited phone support anytime and up to 10 no-cost counseling sessions or 10 free weeks of no-cost, chat-based therapy.

13. American Red Cross

Employees at this major nonprofit are eligible for part-time health benefits if they work 20 hours per week Those who work 30 or more hours per week are eligible for full-time benefits.

The American Red Cross also offers a 401(k) plan with a match up to 4%.

14. Kaplan

The American educational training company offers eligible part-time employees access to a third-party company that helps enroll in a range of health insurance policies from multiple insurance carriers. Options include a supplemental hospital plan, life insurance, a dental and vision option, disability insurance and a free prescription discount card.

Part-time employees and their families also have access to free or significantly discounted educational courses offered by Kaplan.

Robert Bruce is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder. Lisa Rowan is a former staff writer.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

7 Reasons Workers Age 65 and Older Have Not Retired Yet

A senior worker in eyeglasses stands in his carpentry workshop
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com

It seems like more and more Americans can’t get enough of work, whether it’s for enjoyment or necessity.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2028, about 23% of people age 65 or older will be in the workforce.

Money Talks News even points out some signs that might mean it’s time to get back into the workforce in “8 Signs That You Should Leave Retirement.”

Provision Living, which operates senior living communities in three states, recently sought to find out why seniors continue to work. It surveyed more than 1,000 people between age 65 and 85 who work full- or part-time.

The responses indicated that 62% of these folks work for financial reasons while 38% work for personal reasons.

Following is a closer look at the findings. The percentages we report indicate the share of all surveyed seniors who cited a particular reason.

7. Loneliness

A senior woman looks out the window of her home
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 2.3%

The Provision Living survey found that a small share of working seniors stay on the job out of loneliness. Specifically, these seniors “say that their workplace provides invaluable camaraderie and they would feel too lonely if they stopped working,” according to the survey.

These seniors might be on to something. The findings of a 2018 survey of people ages 50 to 80 from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging suggest that chronic loneliness can affect older adults’ memory, physical well-being, mental health and life expectancy.

6. Saving for a big expense

A senior couple enjoys their retirement savings
Ruslan Guzov / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 2.5%

Older workers adding to their income by working must also be smart about not wasting those precious dollars.

While that sounds like common sense, you may be wasting money without realizing it. Money Talks News outlines several ways that seniors blow money needlessly in “7 Surprising Ways Retirees Waste Their Savings.”

5. To avoid boredom or fill time

A black senior man drives a forklift at work
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 11.4%

The Provision Living survey found that about 6.8% of working seniors remain in the workforce out of boredom and about 4.6% work to fill time, although the survey did not explain the difference between these two responses.

Many people relish the thought of never having to work again, but for some, retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. All those hours once spent commuting and working have to be filled up somehow.

For folks who can relate, Money Talks News lays out a game plan for making retirement fun and constructive in “7 Things You Should Try If You Regret Retiring.” And only one of the suggestions involves a job.

4. Supporting family

A senior Asian couple with their grandchild
Eastfenceimage / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 14.3%

The days of kids financially being on their own at age 18 are quickly fading into the past, with more parents helping support their kids well after they officially become adults.

This should not delay your retirement, though: There are numerous ways you can help grown kids financially without sacrificing your own finances, as we detail in “6 Ways to Help Adult Children Without Going Broke.”

3. Paying off a mortgage or other debt

Happy seniors
By michaeljung / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 19.9%

The Provision Living survey found that about 8.1% of working seniors remain in the workforce because they are paying off a mortgage. An additional 11.8% said they are still working because they are paying off debt, although the survey does not specify what type of debt.

At least seniors’ average debt load of $70,633 is less than the national average of $93,446, according to a 2019 analysis from credit reporting company Experian.

If you’re carrying debt, whether as a senior or a younger person, check out “8 Surefire Ways to Get Rid of Debt ASAP” for advice. If you need help digging out of your debt, try the Money Talks News Solutions Center, which can direct you to a trustworthy credit counselor.

2. Can’t afford to retire

Confused senior
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 22.9%

About 22.9% of working seniors “say they simply can’t afford to retire at the moment,” according to Provision Living.

That easily makes retirement affordability — or rather, lack thereof — the most commonly cited financial reason for which seniors remain in the workforce. The second-most common financial reason, supporting family, was cited by only 14.3% of survey respondents.

1. Enjoy working

Tyler Olson / Shutterstock.com

Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 23.2%

The survey found that of seniors who still work either full-time (17.1%) or part-time (6.1%), nearly a quarter do so because they enjoy it. That makes enjoyment of work the most commonly cited reason, whether financial or personal, among survey respondents.

Are you a senior who is still working? What are your reasons for delaying retirement? Share them with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Student Loan Forgiveness for Mental Health Workers

Working in mental health can be a challenging, but rewarding, career. But sometimes the rewards of a fulfilling mental health career are not necessarily monetary. And, because many mental health career tracks require a graduate degree as well as an undergrad degree, you may be wondering about options to pay down student loans.

How To Plan For the Future With Student Loan Debt As A Mental Health Professionals

Student loan debt can be challenging to navigate. It can also be challenging to navigate career opportunities when you know that you have student loans to repay. The good news: You’re not alone. And there is no one right path to pay back student loan debt.

It can be helpful to talk to graduates and see how they paid off student loans. One big crossroads can be whether to take a higher paying job in the private sector or work in a nonprofit role that could give you an avenue toward loan forgiveness through a program like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). Another option to manage repayment is to use income-driven repayment plans, like Pay as You Earn (PAYE) and Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE)

There may also be programs unique to your career. For example, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a government branch, offers loan repayment programs for mental health professionals who meet certain criteria, such as serving in a health professional shortage area. Speaking with your supervisor, your colleagues, and keeping abreast of news within professional organizations can help alert you to unique repayment opportunities.

Recommended: REPAYE vs PAYE: What’s the Difference?

What is a Student Loan Forgiveness Program?

A student loan forgiveness program operates the way it sounds: Student loans can be forgiven if certain criteria within the program are met. But each student loan forgiveness program has different criteria. It’s important to completely understand the scope of the forgiveness program. Reading this student loan forgiveness guide can help you understand where the national conversation is regarding loan forgiveness in the future as well as options available for forgiveness now.

When student loans are forgiven, usually after a set amount of payments, the balance is forgiven. But that balance may be taxed, depending on the program. For example, forgiveness received under PSLF is not considered taxable, according to the IRS. But under PAYE and REPAYE programs, any canceled student loan debt is considered taxable.

There may also be loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs) for your profession or field. There may also be state-sponsored loan forgiveness programs.

Will Student Loans be Forgiven After Ten Years?

Loans are not automatically forgiven after ten years. But one potential avenue for mental health student loan forgiveness is the federal Public Service and Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This program requires eligible candidates to work with a qualifying organization and make 120 qualifying monthly payments. It also requires that the loans you hold be federal Direct Loans (or that the federal loans you currently have are consolidated into a Direct Loan).

Qualifying for PSLF can be challenging and requires borrowers to certify their employment to be sure their payments count toward the program. In addition to making 120 payments while working at a qualifying employer, you have to be working for a qualifying employer when you submit the forgiveness application and when the loan is forgiven.

Consult with your loan servicer if you have any questions and be sure to read all of the details about the program.

Over the years, there has been legislation for student loan forgiveness, including the student loan forgiveness act. But despite bipartisan support for student loan forgiveness, nothing has happened on a national level. While there may be legislation in the future for forgiveness for federal or even private student loans, right now those seeking forgiveness can go through the federal programs already in place.

Typical Requirements for Student Loan Forgiveness

In general, forgiveness programs have criteria. These may include:

•  A history of payments, with no payments skipped

•  Working at a qualifying organization, in a qualifying capacity (ie, full-time instead of part-time)

•  Correctly filling out paperwork for forgiveness

•  Potentially paying taxes on the amount forgiven

Understanding the criteria, reading the fine print, and researching any points of confusion can be helpful in ensuring that your application is processed successfully. The eligibility and forgiveness requirements may vary depending on the forgiveness program, so be sure to fully understand the criteria for the loan forgiveness option you are pursuing.

Difference Between Loan Forgiveness, Loan Cancellation, and Loan Discharge

These three terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Quite simply, all three terms mean you’re no longer required to pay some or all of your loan. But there are no “easy” ways to get out of paying student loans.

Usually, forgiveness and cancellation mean that, due to either a forgiveness application or your current job, you no longer have to pay loans. Discharge refers to a situation beyond your control, such as total and permanent disability or the closure of your school. In very rare cases, student loans are discharged due to bankruptcy. You will likely have to apply for cancellation, forgiveness, or discharge and will likely need to continue making payments while the application is processed.

Student Loan Forgiveness Options For Mental Health Workers

Depending on your place of employment, you may have other options for forgiveness through specific mental health worker programs. There also may be scholarships and grants available in your field of study. Also something to consider: Some private employers offer student loan repayment as part of their packages. This can be worth asking potential employers as you look for jobs. There are also other federal programs to know about:

PPACA and HERA Student Loan Programs for Counselors

As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, legislation expanded opportunities for student loan forgiveness for healthcare professionals, including mental health counselors. While many of these forgiveness programs are state-run, this act did ensure that any forgiven funds would not be considered taxable income for people seeking forgiveness through programs supporting health care professionals working in underserved areas.

Under the Higher Education Reconciliation Act (HERA) certain federal loans, including Stafford Loans, and Direct Loans (both Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans) are eligible for a graduated repayment plan. Under this plan, your federal loan repayments start low and gradually increase every two years. This can be an option if you expect your income to increase over the years.

National Health Services Corps Loan Repayment Program

The National Health Services Corps offers loan repayment programs through your state. Each state has different eligibility requirements, including eligible disciplines. These state-run programs also may differ in terms of service commitments but usually, the commitments start at two years for an eligible position. These will generally be at centers funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Mental Health Loan Forgiveness Alternatives

The criteria and requirements for some forgiveness programs can be challenging to fit. But that doesn’t mean there’s no way to pay down loans. Understanding all your options can help you navigate the best potential avenue for you.

Refinance Your Mental Health Student Loan

Refinancing your student loans could help save you money in the long term, and may potentially give you more flexibility in your budget. When you refinance, you take all your loans and consolidate them into one loan. For qualifying borrowers, this loan may have a lower interest rate, which could reduce the amount of money you owe in interest over the life of the loan. It also may have a different payment term, so that you are paying the loan off over a longer (or shorter) period of time. Keep in mind that while a longer loan term may result in lower monthly payments, but might also mean paying more in interest. This type of customization can be helpful in taking control of your finances.

You can check your loan refinance rate without affecting your credit score and choose terms that work for you.

Scholarships and Grants

There may be scholarships and grants, either from your institution or your place of work. This can help pay down student loan debt. It’s also worth remembering that some private-sector employers may offer student loan repayment as a perk. Talking with colleagues, supervisors, and the financial aid office at your school may help you find programs that may be specific to your field or your school.

Pay Off Student loan Debt

In some cases, it may make sense to prioritize paying down student loan debt. This may include considering a personal loan to cover student loan debt, if the interest rate is lower than refinancing options. Other ways to pay off student loan debt include taking on part-time work, decreasing living expenses or otherwise try to carve out opportunities to pay more than the monthly student loan payment.

The Takeaway

Working as a mental health professional can be rewarding, but might require students to borrow student loans to pay for their education. There are options for paying back student loans. Some mental health professionals may qualify for certain types of loan forgiveness, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, if they have federal student loans and depending on their profession and employer. Refinancing some or all of your student loans can be another option to help give some monthly leeway in your budget while allowing you to potentially save money on interest over time.

But one thing is a cliche in the mental health field — and in the world of paying back student loans: No one is alone. Talking to colleagues about their student loan pathway, joining professional organizations, and keeping an ear to the ground regarding grants, scholarships, and employers paying back student loans can all be beneficial in finding a payback plan that works for you — and your career goals.

Learn more about how refinancing your student loans with SoFi could help you repay your student loans.

FAQ on Mental Health Forgiveness

How do counselors and mental health professionals plan for the future with student loan debt?

Understanding options for paying back loans can be helpful for mental health professionals. Sometimes, this includes looking into all repayment opportunities, including the opportunity to refinance and save money on interest over time. Sometimes, mental health professionals and counselors may expand their job search into private sector work which may pay more to comfortably cover loan payments.

Do healthcare workers qualify for loan forgiveness?

In some cases, healthcare workers qualify for eligible forgiveness programs. This depends on the state the healthcare worker resides, as well as their place of employment.

What are some student loan forgiveness options for mental health workers?

Mental health workers who work in underserved areas may be able to apply for forgiveness programs run at their state level for healthcare professionals. Eligibility depends on criteria including place of employment. Student loan forgiveness options may also include the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) as well as some income-based repayment options.


Photo credit: iStock/Vertigo3d

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Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

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Can You Get Life Insurance if You Have Depression?

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Mental health is one of many factors life insurance companies consider when determining how much to charge for coverage. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression or a related mental health condition, you could end up paying more for life insurance.

The good news is that a depression diagnosis won’t automatically disqualify you from coverage. If your condition is mild and well-controlled with medication, it might not affect your life insurance premiums at all.

Still, every would-be life insurance policyholder needs to understand how depression affects life insurance rates before applying. Here’s what you need to know.


Can You Get Life Insurance if You Have Depression?

You can get life insurance if you have depression. However, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll qualify for the amount or type of life insurance you want.


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Much depends on the specific circumstances of your condition and how it impacts your life. Expect to have difficulty qualifying for life insurance coverage if any of the following apply to you:

  • Recent Hospitalization for Mental Illness. If you’ve been hospitalized for mental illness in the past year or two, insurers may see you as unacceptably risky. Examples of mental illness-related hospitalization include attempted or actual self-harm, panic attack, or psychosis.
  • Inconsistent Treatment for Depression. If you don’t consistently treat your depression with medication or therapy, you’ll have trouble getting life insurance. Insurers review your medical records for mental illness diagnoses and prescriptions.
  • Recent Documented Instances of Self-Harm. If you’ve been treated for self-harm, insurers will be hesitant to cover you, even if the incident was isolated and didn’t result in serious injury.
  • Inability to Work Consistently. If your condition is debilitating enough that you’re unable to work consistently or drawing disability payments, you’re more likely to be denied coverage.
  • Certain Mental Illness Diagnoses. Certain types of mental illness diagnoses are more concerning to insurers than others. If you’ve been diagnosed with serious, persistent conditions like psychotic depression or schizophrenia, affordable life insurance could be out of reach. Mild depression and less severe conditions like anxiety or dysthymia (“functional depression”) won’t impact your eligibility as much or at all.

In the worst-case scenario, your mental health condition could disqualify your application for standard term or permanent life insurance, but you’ll still have options:

  • Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance: If you’re older, you’ll likely qualify for guaranteed issue life insurance. This is a lower-value policy designed to cover your final expenses and not much else. It’s much more expensive than term life insurance but could be useful if you don’t want to be a burden on your survivors.
  • Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance: If you’re younger and your employer offers group life insurance, you’ll likely qualify even if your medical history raises red flags. Group life insurance is quite affordable but not particularly generous, and there’s a big catch: You’ll probably lose coverage if you change jobs.

How Depression Affects Life Insurance Rates

Like smoking and diabetes, life insurance companies consider depression a risk factor for premature death. That means people with depression are more expensive to insure — and pay higher premiums as a result.

Insurance underwriters look at a number of factors when they set life insurance premiums for people with depression.

You Initial Date of Diagnosis Matters

Your initial diagnosis date matters because it tells the insurer how long you’ve been experiencing mental health issues.

Being diagnosed with depression or other mental illness early in life isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if your condition has been stable and you’ve consistently pursued treatment, a longer history of mental illness could reassure your insurer. A more recent diagnosis means less data and more questions about how your condition might develop.

Your date of diagnosis is also important because it provides context around your condition. Insurers typically worry less about situational depression, such as postpartum depression and depression triggered by grief. If it’s well-treated, situational depression might not affect your life insurance rates at all.

Condition and Severity Will Be a Factor Too

When you apply for life insurance with depression, expect your insurer to ask for specifics around your diagnosis. They’ll check your medical records anyway, so it’s OK if you don’t know everything, but it’s important to be as honest and forthcoming as possible.

Your insurer wants to know the nature and severity of your mental illness. Mild depression and related conditions that tend to be less debilitating — like anxiety and dysthymia — raise fewer red flags than moderate or severe depression and certain mood or personality disorders: bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, psychotic depression.

As part of this process, your insurer might ask questions like:

  • What are the symptoms of your condition?
  • When did your symptoms first appear?
  • How have your symptoms changed since beginning treatment?
  • Are you experiencing related mental health issues, such as substance use or alcohol use disorder?
  • Have you ever attempted suicide?
  • Have you experienced any acute episodes due to your condition, such as psychosis?
  • Have you ever missed work or been unable to work due to your condition?
  • Has your condition affected your ability to take care of yourself or participate in everyday activities?

Treatment Will Work Favorably for Your Rates

Your history of mental health care can dramatically affect your life insurance rates for better or worse. Your insurer wants reassurance that you’ve sought and are receiving consistent, high-quality care for your condition.

In practice, that means:

  • You’re in therapy with a licensed psychologist or therapist
  • You’ve been prescribed medication for your condition by a psychiatrist or primary care provider
  • You’re consistently taking your medication
  • Your medication history is relatively stable — you don’t frequently change medications or dosage

If you check these boxes, you’ll qualify for better life insurance rates than an otherwise identical applicant with untreated or poorly treated mental illness.

History of Hospitalization Is Not Necessarily Disqualifying

Being hospitalized for mental health reasons is concerning but not necessarily disqualifying for life insurance underwriters. If you have been hospitalized recently, your insurer will want to know:

  • Whether the hospitalization was voluntary or involuntary
  • The reason for hospitalization, such as a suicide attempt, panic attack, or dissociative episode
  • How long you remained in the hospital
  • How many times you’ve been hospitalized in the past

Your insurer won’t be overly concerned about a brief, isolated, and voluntary hospital stay, although even that’s likely to affect your life insurance rates. If you’ve been hospitalized multiple times or recently attempted suicide, you’ll be considered higher-risk and could be denied coverage. 


Depression is a life insurance risk factor, just like cancer and heart disease. But people with a family history of cancer or heart disease can qualify for affordable life insurance, especially if they’re young and otherwise healthy.

The same is true for people with depression. 

Every life insurance applicant gets a life insurance rating or risk category. This is a measure of risk — basically, how likely the person is to die during the policy term if they’re applying for term life coverage, or how soon they can be expected to die if they’re applying for permanent life coverage.

The higher your rating, the lower your premiums. Here’s what you can expect if you’re applying for life insurance after a depression diagnosis:

  • Preferred Plus: This risk category is reserved for applicants with clean family health histories, low-risk lifestyles, ideal height-weight ratios, and no known health conditions. Few people with depression qualify, but if your health history is otherwise perfect, you might be so lucky.
  • Preferred: If you’re healthy and have no real red flags in your lifestyle or family health history, there’s a good chance you’ll qualify for Preferred status with mild, well-controlled depression or anxiety.
  • Standard Plus: If you have a few blemishes on your personal or family health history but your depression is well-controlled, you’ll likely qualify for Standard Plus.
  • Standard: If you’ve struggled to manage your depression or haven’t treated it consistently, you may qualify for a Standard rating. Alternatively, if your depression is well-controlled but you have other health or lifestyle risk factors, you’ll likely find yourself here.
  • Table Rating: Also known as a Substandard rating, a table rating (typically A through J) suggests an elevated risk of premature death. If your mental health condition is associated with an elevated risk of death by suicide, you’ve been hospitalized recently, or your ability to work or care for yourself is limited, expect to find yourself here or to have your application denied altogether.

Lower ratings can get expensive quickly. Premiums for J-rated applicants — the most expensive to insure — are 225% higher than premiums for Standard-rated applicants. 


5 Tips for Applying for Life Insurance With Depression

If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition, don’t assume you won’t qualify for life insurance. You might end up paying a bit more, but chances are good you’ll find an insurer willing to write your policy.

That said, there’s much you can do to make the process easier, ensure you find a good rate, and minimize the risk that your beneficiaries get stiffed after your death.

1. Look for Friendly Insurers

Not all insurers treat applicants with depression equally. The best life insurance companies for people with depression won’t penalize applicants with mild, well-controlled depression or anxiety. If it’s not clear from the insurer’s website, don’t be afraid to ask how they assess mental health issues.

2. Be Honest About Your Health History

Don’t intentionally withhold health-related information from your would-be insurer.

This might as well be the golden rule of applying for life insurance. Insurance underwriters go to great lengths to learn about your medical history and past life insurance applications. If you’ve told a medical provider or insurance company about something in the past, chances are good they’ll find out.

That matters because even if your dishonesty earns you a lower premium now, it could harm your life insurance beneficiaries when you die. This is especially true if you die by suicide or in some other manner that may be correlated with an undisclosed mental health condition, like a drunk-driving crash. You can bet that your insurer will reopen your file and verify what you told them when you applied, and if there’s reason to believe you weren’t forthcoming, they could refuse to pay.

3. Document Medications and Therapy

Although you should expect your insurer to pull your medical records, don’t assume they’ll learn every relevant fact about your condition or course of treatment. 

Make it easy for them by collecting and sharing as much about your mental health treatment as possible, including any medications you’ve taken and therapy you’ve received over the years. The more consistent your treatment appears, the less concerned your insurer is likely to be.

4. Look for Ways to Trim Your Life Insurance Costs

If you’re not fortunate enough to get a Preferred Plus or Preferred rating, look for compromises that might trim your life insurance costs.

That could mean applying for a term life insurance policy with a shorter term, such as 20 years instead of 30. It could mean lowering your death benefit to a less generous but still acceptable amount. Or it could mean opting for full medical underwriting rather than no-exam coverage. Any of these moves should reduce your premium.

5. Have a Backup Plan

Finally, plan for the worst: a denied application. 

If the denial is due to a temporary issue, such as a recent attempt at self-harm or involuntary hospitalization, the result could be different if you wait a year or two and reapply.

Otherwise, consider life insurance options that don’t consider your mental health history. The go-to choice here is guaranteed issue life insurance — a type of whole life insurance policy that won’t deny your application for any medical reason, including mental health issues.


Final Word

Managing depression — or any mental illness, for that matter — is a challenging, often lifelong enterprise. Anything that creates undue stress or complexity can interfere with the process — even one-off tasks like applying for life insurance.

Unfortunately, you might not have the luxury of saying “no” to life insurance. If your death would cause a financial burden for your partner, dependents, or close relatives, there’s a good chance you need life insurance. At least temporarily.

The silver lining is that you can probably qualify for life insurance even after a diagnosis of depression. You might even get the best available rates. You won’t know until you try. 

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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Source: moneycrashers.com

The Best Affordable Hair Loss Treatments for Male Pattern Baldness

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If you’re a guy who’s losing his hair, you’re not alone. Male pattern baldness, also known asandrogenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss in men. More than half of all guys will deal with some amount of hair loss by age 50.

For some, balding happens a lot sooner. It’s not unheard of for some men to start noticing bald spots or a receding hairline in their 20s and 30s.

Hair loss might be common, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing or upsetting. Fortunately, modern science and medicine have your back. There are several effective hair loss treatments available. While some, like hair restoration surgery, are very expensive, others are much more wallet-friendly. 

The Best Affordable Hair Loss Treatments for Male Pattern Baldness

Be skeptical of magic potions or gadgets — like laser caps and combs — that promise to restore hair or stimulate hair growth. Two types of hair loss medications are FDA-approved and proven to be effective at stimulating new hair growth.


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They’re minoxidil and finasteride, better known by the brand names Rogaine and Propecia. In the past, the only way to get finasteride was by seeing your doctor and getting a prescription. Though minoxidil has long been available over the counter, you still needed to visit a pharmacy to pick it up until recently.

Today, several direct-to-consumer online services send finasteride and minoxidil straight to your door with no in-person doctor’s appointment or trip to the pharmacy required. Keeps, our pick for the best overall affordable hair loss treatment, provides the best overall value and flexibility. 

The other direct-to-consumer hair loss treatment solutions have advantages of their own, such as convenience or all-natural formulations. 


Best Overall: Keeps

Keeps Logo

Thanks to its low price and range of options, Keeps is the best hair loss treatment option for men on a budget. 

Keeps lets you order finasteride and minoxidil directly and for considerably less than you’d pay at a traditional pharmacy. A one-month supply of finasteride is $25. A one-month supply of minoxidil is $10 for the topical solution or $15 for the foam. If you bundle the two, you can save more.

The first step when signing up for Keeps is setting up a free consultation with a doctor. During a telehealth visit, the doctor assesses your hair loss pattern and recommend a treatment for you, whether it’s minoxidil, finasteride, or a combination of the two.

You can also transfer an existing prescription for finasteride to Keeps to take advantage of the lower price. 

Additional features:

  • Hair Thickening Products. If you’re concerned that your hair is becoming thinner, Keeps also sells pomades, shampoos and conditioners for thicker hair. You can order them along with your finasteride and minoxidil foam or solution. The shampoo and conditioner are $22 each, more than you’d pay for a basic drugstore product but about the same as a salon-quality product. The pomade is $25.
  • Follow-Up Telehealth Visits. Keeps offers regular follow-up telehealth visits with your doctor to check on your progress. Along the way, you’re welcome to reach out to Keeps care consultants at any time and they’ll answer your questions. 
  • Subscription Options. You can sign up for a three-month, six-month or 12-month plan. The longer the plan, the lower the price. The three-month subscription starts at $30. The 12-month plan starts at $102.

Best for Supplements: Nutrafol

Nutrafol Logo

Finasteride and minoxidil are both FDA-approved hair loss treatments. They’re effective medications that have proven track records of results. 

But they’re also pharmaceutical compounds, which turn some people off. If you want to improve your hair density and scalp health, you have options that don’t require you to take or apply synthetic medications.

That’s the premise behind Nutrafol, a hair growth supplement line that claims to promote “hair wellness from within.” Nutrafol has several product lines, including one designed to help men get thicker and stronger hair. 

Nutrafol promises to promote hair growth without the potential side effects finasteride or minoxidil often have. It claims that 83% of men who used it experienced better hair quality and 72% had improved scalp coverage. 

Notably, Nutrafol targets issues that affect hair health, not necessarily pattern hair loss. Those factors include nutrition, lifestyle choices, and stress levels. 

The oral supplements contain several natural ingredients, such as saw palmetto. Saw palmetto may help block dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone responsible for male pattern baldness. But research on the effectiveness of saw palmetto is limited.

Additional features:

  • Cost. Nutrafol is $88 for a one-month supply. You can save 10% if you sign up for monthly delivery.
  • Products for Women. Nutrafol also offers hair growth supplements for women and has post-partum and post-menopause formulas.
  • Additional Products Available. You can also order growth activating scalp serums from Nutrafol. A bottle of hair serum lasts one to three months and costs $69.

Best for Topical Treatment: Hims

Hims Logo

Hims is a telehealth company that might be best known for offering erectile dysfunction (ED) treatments to men from the comfort of their homes.

Hims does more than offer support for ED though. The company focuses on overall personal wellness too.

Hims offers a line of hair regrowth products, including a topical finasteride and minoxidil spray that appeals to men who don’t want to take pills. 

Finasteride is a DHT blocker. Although it’s effective at stimulating hair growth, the oral form has some potentially unappealing side effects, including decreased sex drive. A topical version of finasteride might be just as effective — without the side effects. 

The topical spray is ideal if you want to avoid taking a pill every day, but it does come with a steeper price tag compared to Keeps.

Additional features:

  • Cost. A three-month supply of the spray from Hims is $150. 
  • Other Hair Growth Products Available. Hims also sells finasteride pills, biotin gummies, and other products to help thicken hair.
  • Goes Beyond Hair Loss. Other wellness products from Hims include erectile dysfunction pills, condoms, skincare products, and medications for mental health.  

Best for One and Done: Hair Transplant

Finasteride and minoxidil are two of the best products for treating hair loss out there. The trouble with them is that they don’t cure hair loss. You’ll get a fuller head of hair as long as you keep using them. Once you stop, hair loss returns or continues.

If the idea of applying a product or taking a pill for the rest of your life doesn’t appeal to you, the only permanent hair regrowth treatment is a hair transplant. 

Hair restoration surgery isn’t exactly cheap. The price can range from $4,000 to $15,000, depending on how many hair follicles you want to replace. 

But nipping hair loss in the bud can be an effective option for you. The first thing to do if you’re interested in hair restoration surgery is schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. In New York, Keeps provides a minimally invasive surgical option for hair regrowth.

If you decide to work with Keeps for hair restoration, you’ll first have a consultation with a Keeps patient advisor. They’ll review your pattern of hair loss and let you know if surgery is right for you — without asking you to sign up for a Keeps subscription. As an added bonus, you get 25% off the cost of each graft when you work with a patient advisor. 


Best for Those Who Want to Keep Things Old-School: Traditional Pharmacy

Direct-to-consumer, mail-order hair loss treatment services, like Keeps, are meant to make things super easy for you. You can talk to a doctor from the comfort of your home and get the products you need delivered straight to your door — all for a much lower price than you’d pay at a traditional pharmacy.

But what if you like going to a brick and mortar store to pick up your Rogaine or fill your Propecia prescription? You can still do that.

There are some benefits to being old-school when it comes to treating hair loss. You can make adjustments to your treatments on the fly. This month, you might try the brand name. Next month, you might switch it up and try the store brand. Or if one product’s on sale, you can stock up, then switch to the other when the sale ends and you run out.

The old-school method is also great if you have a good relationship with your primary care provider. If you see a doctor in person to get a script for Propecia, they can evaluate your scalp up close and let you know if it’s working or not. You can also more easily discuss side effects and concerns with a doctor in person.

But since direct-to-consumer telehealth brands offer lower prices, expect to pay more out of pocket to go to the store on your own. 


Methodology: How We Select the Best Affordable Hair Loss Treatment

How did we land on Keeps as the top affordable hair loss treatment? We looked at a few factors, such as overall price, options available, and effectiveness of ingredients. 

We also considered the medical benefits of Keeps’ approach and the additional services Keeps provides patients.

Effectiveness

Biotin, keratin, lasers — there are lots of ingredients and products out there that claim to treat hair loss or encourage hair growth. But only two have the backing of scientific evidence and FDA approval: minoxidil and finasteride.

Keeps offers both of those products. 

Minoxidil works by making the hair follicle larger and extending the growth phase of each follicle. When you have male pattern baldness, the follicles on your head shrink, so that eventually they can’t produce hair anymore. Minoxidil helps to reverse that shrinkage. 

It’s most effective when you start using at the first sign of hair loss and before the age of 40. 

Finasteride works by reducing levels of DHT, the male hormone that’s responsible for shrinking hair follicles and causing male pattern baldness. In clinical trials, the medication stopped hair loss in 86% of male patients and encouraged hair growth in 65% of patients.

Cost

You want to treat your hair loss without going broke. Keeps offers the most budget-friendly treatment option, especially if you sign up for both minoxidil and finasteride and a six-month or 12-month plan.

If you were to buy Rogaine in a drugstore, it might cost you $50 for a three-month supply. A three-month supply of Keeps’ minoxidil is just $30. Other direct-to-consumer hair loss treatment services charge $45 or more for a three-month supply.

Finasteride is usually not covered by insurance when used to treat hair loss. The name brand, Propecia, costs well over $100 per month, compared to Keeps, which is $25 per month, or $75 for three months. 

Medical Advice

The internet makes it super easy to diagnose yourself with all kinds of conditions. That can definitely be the case when you’re dealing with hair loss. Luckily, Keeps takes some of the guesswork out of dealing with male pattern baldness, as it includes a consultation with a doctor who’s licensed to practice in your state.

After your consultation with a Keeps doctor, you’ll receive a letter detailing your situation and recommending the best course of treatment.

Variety

Keeps has a lot of options for getting a healthy head of hair. In addition to hair loss medications, it also offers hair thickening products, such as shampoo and conditioner, and anti-dandruff shampoos to keep your scalp healthy. Keeps intends its hair styling products to complement medical treatment, not replace it.

Depending on your age and the extent of your hair loss, hair restoration surgery might be the best option to recover lost hair volume. If you live in or can travel to New York City, you can schedule this through Keeps. 


Affordable Hair Loss Treatment FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions)

Hair loss and hair loss treatments are complex topics. There are many different types of hair loss and the condition affects both men and women. 

Why Am I Losing My Hair?

Hair loss occurs for many reasons. Both men and women experience hair loss, but the condition is more common in men. Male and female pattern baldness are both caused by hormones, genes, and aging. 

Some medical conditions and medications used to treat some conditions can also lead to hair loss. For example, hair loss is often a sign of a thyroid problem or an autoimmune disorder. 

In some cases, high levels of stress can lead to hair loss. Usually, stress-related hair loss is temporary. Hair growth usually returns when the stress is eliminated. Stressful events in the body, such as being pregnant, can also cause temporary hair loss.

Also worth noting is that some hair styles, like tight braids and ponytails, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. In some cases, traction alopecia can be permanent, but it usually resolves once you start wearing looser hair styles. 

How you treat hair loss depends in large part on your sex and the cause of the hair loss. For example, minoxidil is effective at treating pattern baldness in men and women. But finasteride is only appropriate for men to use. 

Neither minoxidil nor finasteride can treat hair loss due to stress, medical conditions, or other factors. 

Do Supplements and Antioxidants Help Hair Loss?

Popping a vitamin or eating a more nutritious diet may help slow down hair loss, but only if the hair loss is connected to a nutritional deficiency. Eating a healthy diet has many benefits beyond giving you a head of healthy hair, so it’s worth trying even if it doesn’t directly help your hair loss.

If you’re dealing with pattern baldness, a hormone is causing your hair follicles to shrink. To date, there’s very little evidence to support the claim that certain supplements or herbs will reverse hair loss in people experiencing pattern baldness.

Is Hair Restoration Surgery Worth It?

A hair transplant takes hair follicles from one area of your scalp or body and transplants into the area where you’re experiencing hair loss. It can be an effective and permanent way to restore lost hair.

But it’s also very expensive. 

Whether a hair transplant is worth it to you or not depends on several factors. If the idea of using a topical solution or taking a pill regularly doesn’t appeal to you, a simple, minimally invasive procedure might be ideal.

Likewise, a hair transplant might restore some confidence lost due to hair loss. That could make the high price worth it in the long run.

Can I Reverse Hair Loss?

If you begin treatment early enough in the process, you may slow down or even turn the tide on hair loss. 

Minoxidil is most effective when you start using it at the first sign of hair loss, and you need to keep using it to maintain the effects. Once you stop, your hair loss could return.

The same is true of finasteride. It can slow hair loss and encourage hair growth for as long as you keep using it. Once you stop, expect your hair loss to resume. 

Reversing hair loss takes time with either treatment, even if you use them in combination. Expect to see an improvement in your hair growth and thickness about four to six months after you begin treatment with minoxidil, for example. 


How to Choose the Best Affordable Hair Loss Treatment

If hair loss affects your self-esteem and overall quality of life, you might be willing to pay a pretty penny to treat it. Luckily, you don’t have to. You can find effective treatments for as little as $10 per month with Keeps.

When evaluating hair loss treatments, don’t get caught up in shiny packaging or over-the-top promises. Instead, look at the science behind the treatment. The more evidence you can find that the product is effective, the surer you can be that it’ll slow or reverse your hair loss.

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Since 2017, Masterworks has successfully sold three paintings, each realizing a net anualized gain of +30% per work. (This is not an indication of Masterworks’ overall performance and past performance is not indicative of future results.)

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Amy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia, PA. Her interest in personal finance and budgeting began when she was earning an MFA in theater, living in one of the most expensive cities in the country (Brooklyn, NY) on a student’s budget. You can read more of her work on her website, Amy E. Freeman.

Source: moneycrashers.com