Ideally you should be focused on enjoying life in retirement, and not obsessing or fumbling over your finances. Here are some steps to simplify your money matters in retirement.
Automate your money moves. Have your sources of income, including Social Security and retirement account withdrawals, automatically direct-deposited into your checking account on a regular basis. If you don't have a checking account, consider opening an Electronic Transfer Account (ETA) so you can get your Social Security payments quickly, safely, and automatically. A direct deposit like this will ensure that you have access to your money regardless of your availability to deposit the check manually. Also, when possible, pay your bills automatically from your checking account. This can save time and money (no stamps) at the end of the month.
Take advantage of online banking. There are now plenty of free online checking accounts available. These accounts will allow you to access your bank account from anywhere you can use a computer. Whether you are touring the world or simply visiting family in another city, you will have access to your banking account so you can see where you stand and make financial moves. Since these accounts are typically fee-free, you can save money on banking services too.
Use online budgeting and financial aggregation tools. Services like Mint.com allow you to review your expenses, see all of your financial accounts online, and create a simple monthly budget, all from any computer or smart phone in the world. Checking in with this free service once a week or once a month will help you stay on top of your entire financial world.
Go paperless. Once you've aggregated your accounts using the services above, you will have less of a need for paper statements to review. Have your bank account and bill statements sent by e-mail. If you're a pack rat, download the statements to your computer or online storage service. This means you will have less mail to sort, fewer papers to file, and global access to your financial information.
Bundle services or pay bills annually. By bundling your cable, phone, and Internet services you can reduce your monthly bills from 3 to 1 per month. You also might reduce the total amount paid for the services. Consider making more bill payments annually, such as your home owners association fees and insurance premiums. This eliminates a few monthly payments you need to worry about, and it also might save you money if a discount is provided for annual payments.
Phil Taylor is the author of the popular 52 Ways to Make Extra Money. Find out how to save more money and get the latest news on the best online savings accounts and the best online stock brokers at his blog, PT Money: Personal Finance.