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Who doesn’t love free?

Sure, free isn’t always good. On occasion, free is junk (how many branded keychains and bottle openers do you really need?). From time to time, free is a scam. But in a lot of cases, free is just free—a welcome respite from a wealth of other products and experiences that tug at our wallets.

And for senior citizens, many free things are available that could actually make a highly positive impact on their lives.

As you get older, you’ll find that the cost of some products, services, and even experiences will start to go down. Senior citizens are eligible for a wide variety of discounts, and some things become completely free. Thing is, not everyone comes right out and announces it. So sometimes, it can take a little digging to find out what free items and services are available to you.

Or, you can save some time and check out the digging I’ve already done for you. Read on to check out a number of free things for older adults, 

Always Free Stuff for Senior Citizens


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I’m going to start with things that are always free. You don’t need a membership, a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, nothing. As long as you meet the age of eligibility, you can literally get these things for a smile—or a frown, if you’re not the smiling type.

1. Tax Help


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Taxes can be time-consuming and confusing no matter your age. So thank your lucky stars if you’ve reached age 60, because at that point, you can begin to receive free tax help from the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) grant program.

Through this program, volunteers at eligible organizations provide tax assistance to the elderly, typically in locations that are convenient for senior citizens to get to. The IRS in turn reimburses the volunteers for transportation, meals, and other expenses.

To be clear: These volunteers are qualified to provide tax assistance. Before they can help prepare tax returns, they must take and pass tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards. And the IRS requires every return prepared by TCE volunteers to undergo a quality review before they’re filed.

This free tax preparation help is available from Jan. 1 to April 15 every year. And the program must offer tax assistance to older adults year-round.

2. Free Courses


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While you can’t get free education at every single university, many colleges do offer tuition-free courses to senior citizens. They might be online courses, in-person courses, or a mix of both.

Most states have at least one tuition-free state university program for seniors. (The exceptions—Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, and South Dakota—still have deeply discounted tuition programs for senior citizens.)

Depending on the state, the minimum age for free tuition ranges from 55 to 65.

Alternatively, you can audit a class. When senior citizens audit a class, they get to attend lectures and join in on discussions. But they don’t take tests, do homework, or receive course credits. This is an excellent option if you want to learn more but don’t care about working toward a degree.

Related: 10 Best Long-Term Stocks to Buy and Hold Forever

3. Additional Standard Deduction


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Are you 65 or older? Then you’re entitled to an additional standard deduction that can be added to the regular standard deduction for your filing status.

The additional standard deduction for the 2023 tax year is $1,500 (and $1,550 in 2024) for married couples filing jointly, married taxpayers filing separately, and surviving spouses. For single and head-of-household filers, the additional standard deduction for the 2023 tax year is $1,850 ($1,950 in 2024).

It’s worth noting that the additional standard deduction isn’t only for people who are 65 or older—it also applies to people who are blind, too. And if you are at least age 65 and blind, the additional deduction is doubled. For example, if you’re a blind 70-year-old and filing single or head of household, your additional standard deduction for the 2023 tax year would be $3,700 (or $3,900 for the 2024 tax year).

Related: How to File a Tax Extension [Postpone Your Taxes]

4. Senior Center Events


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Senior centers are community centers designed specifically for older adults, and they typically host free events. The event calendar for a senior center near me shows bridge games, gentle yoga classes, a veteran’s social, movie screenings, and more, all occurring within the next few days—and all completely free to senior citizens. Some of the events even include free food.

The exact events will vary by location, but there is always free stuff to do. If you seek more socialization, check out the website of a center near you. Also consider looking at Facebook Events to see if any free events pique your interest.

Related: 5 Best Fidelity Retirement Funds [Low-Cost + Long-Term]

Often-Free Stuff for Senior Citizens


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Next up, I’m going to look at free stuff that isn’t always free for senior citizens, but is often free. Whether the service is free or not might depend on location, age, or other eligibility criteria.

5. Medicare Part A Premiums


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You might have heard that Medicare Part A premiums are free. That’s largely, but not entirely, true.

The majority of U.S. senior citizens can indeed get Medicare Part A premiums for free. Specifically, you’ll get it for free if you or a spouse paid Medicare taxes for long enough (typically 10 years), or if you receive Medicare earlier than age 65.

If you’re 65 or older but don’t qualify for premium-free Part A, you still might be able to buy it. But you’ll also have to sign up for Part B to do so. And you’ll want to do so when you’re first eligible for Medicare—if you buy it outside of your initial enrollment period (and didn’t have similar coverage until then), you could face late enrollment penalties, which are tacked on to your monthly premium for as long as you have that coverage.

I cannot emphasize enough that only Part A premiums are free for most senior citizens. That does not mean that all of your healthcare is free. You still will have a deductible, and many services will require a copay. Plus, there is no limit on out-of-pocket costs, unless you have supplemental coverage.

WealthUp Tip: During one’s working years, it’s highly recommended to open and fully fund a health savings account (HSA) any year you are eligible to do so. HSA contributions, investment growth, and withdrawals are all tax-free when used for qualified medical expenses.

Related: Retired But Too Young for Medicare? Health Insurance for Early Retirees

6. Health Insurance Assistance


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Do you struggle to understand the complexities of Medicare? You aren’t alone. According to the MedicareAdvantage.com 2023 Medicare Literacy Survey, roughly 65% of its 2,013 respondents said “Medicare is confusing and difficult to understand,” while 25.5% felt neutral and only 9.9% disagreed with the statement.

Luckily, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) has community-based counselor networks that help educate Medicare-eligible individuals (as well as their family members and/or caregivers) about numerous aspects of Medicare.

The counselors make group presentations and media to teach people, but you can also get one-on-one help. In person or by phone, someone can help you make more informed Medicare decisions. SHIP uses both its own staff, in-kind professionals, and volunteers, all of whom are certified and highly knowledgeable.

To receive these free services, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

— Have a limited income

— Be a Medicare beneficiary under the age of 65 with a disability

— Be dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid

Go to shiphelp.org to contact your local SHIP for more information.

Related: 9 Monthly Dividend Stocks for Frequent, Regular Income

7. Transportation


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Various types of transportation are available to seniors, too.

People with Medicaid, which include many low-income seniors, can typically receive non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) at no to low cost, per federal regulations. Plans typically stress that people should only use NEMT when they have no other means of transportation, but when that’s the case, NEMT can help. States’ specific policies vary; you might have to get your State Medicaid agency’s approval to qualify for a ride

If you have private insurance (whether it’s traditional coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan), you should check with your provider—it’s possible they provide some level of NEMT coverage, too.

Senior citizens can often get free, or at least affordable, public transportation to non-medical places as well. To see if there are free transportation services or other resources for older adults near you, enter your ZIP code in the ElderCareLocator tool. You can also use Google’s Volunteer Transportation search tool to see volunteer transportation providers in each state.

Related: Best Schwab Retirement Funds for a 401(k) Plan

8. Select Medical Screenings


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The earlier cancer and other serious medical conditions are diagnosed, the higher the chances of recovery. Thus, medical screenings and other preventive services are vital to surviving these conditions

Age is a factor in whether you can receive these services for free—and in some cases, you don’t even have to be a senior to get them at no cost.

For example, insurance companies don’t all provide the same mammogram coverage. Some cover them yearly, while others only do over two years. You might need to be at least 40 years old to get a free mammogram under some plans.

Age 45 is the minimum age to receive a free colonoscopy, fecal blood test, or sigmoidoscopy, per the Affordable Care Act.

Anyone with Medicare Part B is entitled to around two dozen free preventive services, though eligibility is also determined by risk factors, age, and Medicare-determined time frames. If you have Medicare, find out which preventative services you may be able to get free of charge.

Keep in mind that while some preventative care is free for senior citizens, any follow-up diagnostics might still carry a cost.

Related: Best Vanguard Retirement Funds for a 401(k) Plan

9. Legal Services


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Senior citizens can often get free legal help, too.

Title III-B, Section 321, of the Older Americans Act (OAA) provides funds for legal assistance to “older individuals with economic or social needs.” This assistance is available in every state, and provided by Area Agencies on Aging. Note: Area Agencies on Aging is a generic term; local agencies have specific names. To find one of these agencies near you, use the ElderCareLocator tool.

Other programs are available only to seniors who live in specific areas. For example, Washington, D.C. residents might also be able to get free legal help through the Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE), which is sponsored by the AARP and also receives funding from the District of Columbia Office on Aging.

Related: 7 Best Wealth + Net Worth Tracker Apps [View All Your Assets]

10. Health and Fitness


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Many Medicare Advantage plans include SilverSneakers—a health and fitness program designed specifically for seniors 65 and older (though there isn’t an age requirement). If you’re eligible for SilverSneakers (you can check eligibility here), you receive access to the following:

— Online fitness classes (both live and prerecorded)

— Thousands of gyms, community centers, and other fitness locations

— The SilverSneakers GO app

— Community classes via Zoom where you can connect with other participants

Senior centers, libraries, and other public programs also often host free workout classes. Although gyms typically don’t give out free memberships based on age, they do sometimes host special free events for seniors.

Related: Best Fidelity Retirement Funds for an IRA

What About Senior Citizen Discounts?


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While you can’t always get free stuff where you want, many businesses and government programs offer senior discounts.

For example, the National Park Service offers a senior discount on annual passes. Usually, an Annual Pass costs $80, but the Annual Senior Pass, for Americans aged 62+, is only $20. The Lifetime Senior Pass is $80 for anyone who plans to visit national parks over the next several years.

Want to learn more? You can check our list of popular senior discounts, or our list of discounts available to AARP members.

Like WealthUp’s Content? Be sure to follow us.

Related: 7 Best Stock Recommendation Services [Stock Picking + Tips]

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Stock recommendation services are popular shortcuts that help millions of investors make educated decisions without having to spend hours of time doing research. But just like, say, a driving shortcut, the quality of stock recommendations can vary widely—and who you’re willing to listen to largely boils down to track record and trust.

The natural question, then, is “Which services are worth a shot?” We explore some of the best (and best-known) stock recommendation services.

 

Related: 10 Best Long-Term Stocks to Buy and Hold Forever

best long term stocks to buy and hold forever

As even novice investors probably know, funds—whether they’re mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs)—are the simplest and easiest ways to invest in the stock market. But the best long-term stocks also offer many investors a way to stay “invested” intellectually—by following companies they believe in. They also provide investors with the potential for outperformance.

So if your’e looking for a starting point for your own portfolio, look no further. Check out our list of the best long-term stocks for buy-and-hold investors.

 

Related: Best Target-Date Funds: Vanguard vs. Schwab vs. Fidelity

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Looking to simplify your retirement investing? Target-date funds are a great way to pick one fund that aligns with when you plan to retire and then contribute to it for life. These are some of the best funds to own for retirement if you don’t want to make any investment decisions on a regular basis.

We provide an overview of how these funds work, who they’re best for, and then compare the offerings of three leading fund providers: Vanguard, Schwab, and Fidelity.

 

Related: 9 Best Monthly Dividend Stocks for Frequent, Regular Income

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The vast majority of American dividend stocks pay regular, reliable payouts—and they do so at a more frequent clip (quarterly) than dividend stocks in most other countries (typically every six months or year).

Still, if you’ve ever thought to yourself, “it’d sure be nice to collect these dividends more often,” you don’t have to look far. While they’re not terribly common, American exchanges boast dozens of monthly dividend stocks.

Like WealthUp’s content? Be sure to follow us.

Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper has been a professional writer since 2016 and has worked with WealthUp (formerly Young & the Invested) since 2019.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she was still immersed in words through previous roles as a library specialist and teacher. Her background in education helps her take complex topics and turn them into easy-to-understand text.

Hannah holds a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. When she isn’t writing, Hannah is usually found playing with her niece and nephew, traveling, or brewing more coffee.