Building financial stability and well-being: Making the most of tax season

The Bottom Line

  • Older adults should regularly review their finances and consider available resources to aid in financial management.
  • It is important for older adults to understand their financial situation, as it contributes to a sense of financial security and overall well-being.
  • During tax season, older adults can learn about benefits they qualify for and improve the understanding of their finances to help build a financially secure and fulfilling future.

With tax season in full swing, now is the perfect time to learn about what financial benefits might be available to support older adults. It’s also a good time for boosting financial literacy and planning for the road ahead.

As we age, our financial situation can change. These changes can include health or care-related expenses, such as for prescription drugs, homecare or other types of supports. Paying for these expenses may require private insurance and/or out-of-pocket payments. These new financial considerations and the programs and benefits available for them makes it important to review our financial standing and explore educational resources that are available.

Financial insecurity affects many older adults. This makes it even more important to build our financial literacy, which refers to the ability to effectively understand and manage our finances to meet our evolving needs. Enhancing financial literacy can help us maintain financial security and contribute to our overall well-being.

What the research tells us

One report of several studies that asked people about factors that they felt were important to successful aging stated that financial security was a key element of overall well-being in later life. In general, financial security is a feeling of satisfaction with one’s financial situation without worry. Research tells us that financial security often comes from having access to financial resources and support. Economic security from environmental and social policies also helps with feeling financially secure. Part of staying independent as we age is having enough money to cover basic needs, living expenses, and healthcare – this is why financial security is important to prioritize as we age. In research studies, older adults reported that feeling financially secure allowed them to worry less, feel more protected, access good-quality care, engage in life, and participate in activities they enjoy.

Another report looked at research from programs that teach adults about finances and financial security. These educational programs can help adults improve their saving habits and learn how to keep good records of their finances. The programs did not show to be as helpful with other parts of financial security, such as improving retirement savings and avoiding loan default rates. One study found that adults contributed more to their savings when there were incentives. An example of an incentives could be when a portion of financial contributions are matched, or being assisted by a tax professional. These research findings show that adults should know about resources that are available to help them make the best of their financial situation.

Make the most of tax season

You can get ahead on both your taxes and planning for your financial future by:

- consulting resources like the Benefits Finder and OAS Benefits Estimator to find out if there are available benefits that you can receive

- thinking about what your needs are now and what they will be in the future (e.g., health-related expenses)

- finding out where and who to get information from about your government's financial assistance programs and benefits

- creating a budget that lines up with your current financial circumstances and needs for the future to lay a solid foundation for financial stability.

As we navigate tax season, let’s take the opportunity to improve our financial literacy and set up for a more financially secure and fulfilling future. 

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Author Details


  1. Teater B, Chonody JM. How do older adults define successful aging? A scoping review. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development. 2020;91(4):599-625. PMID: 31456410; DOI: 10.1177/0091415019871207
  2. Miller M, Reichelstein J, Salas C, et al.  Can you help someone become financially capable? A meta-analysis of the literature  Washington: World Bank Group; 2014.

DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.