As seniors get older, they often face issues in how to maintain their current lifestyles and pay for unexpected expenses, such as medical bills, on a fixed income for the upcoming years to come. Here are quick financial tips for seniors to consider in managing their retirement money.
Getting help – decide if you need financial help from an expert.
A financial advisor can assist in helping answer financial questions such as, how quickly to take out money from savings and how to invest for your future. Research your advisors, their credentials, and background before following any advice given. Think of it the same way as choosing a doctor or a lawyer. Financial advice, just as medical or legal advice, can be critical in planning for retirement and money managing in your retirement. A good place to start your research is with The Financial Planning Association (FPA) website. They maintain a database of Certified Financial Planners (CFP) that can be searched by your geographical area. FPA also has useful tips and checklists to help you learn more about the financial planning process.
Prepare for the possibility that you may become unable to handle your own finances.
Consider writing down a list of all of your financial institutions along with all account numbers. Keep it in a safe place that is easily accessible by your loved ones in case of an emergency. An attorney can help you decide if you should prepare a legal POA document. POA, power of attorney, allows one or more people you trust to make key decisions with as much or as little of your financial and or personal life as you choose. There are two different types of POAs to consider. A “durable” POA takes effect when you sign the document and remains effective if you become incapacitated. A “springing” POA generally becomes effective only if and when you become declared incapacitated. POA laws vary in each state so consult with your lawyer before signing any legal documents.
Having a plan for your money and limiting your expenses is very important when you are retired or on a fixed income. Consider new ways to cut costs and to find discounts you are eligible for. Putting income into savings for short-term goals, such as holiday gifts, prevents large and sudden withdrawals from your retirement investments. Beware of unsolicited offers from unfamiliar companies that could result in buying things that are not needed, that turns into overspending your budget. A good way to prevent unsolicited phone calls is to add your number to the Do Not Call Registry. You can visit their website or call 1-888-382-1222. Also review the privacy disclosures that the banks and financial institutions you do business with have, that way you can limit certain sharing of your information.
Review your credit reports even if you don’t plan on applying for a new loan or credit card.
Mistakes or other errors on your credit report could make it more costly and difficult to borrow money or buy insurance. Monitoring your credit report helps to catch errors and detect identity theft. You can order a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus. Visit their website or call 1-077-322-8228. Another great free way to check your credit, even on a monthly basis, is Credit Karma.
Older adults are particularly at risk to become a victim of a financial fraud. Scam artists and thieves prey on senior citizens who have accumulated money and other assets. These are some classic warning signs to look out for:
An unsolicited phone call, email or letter requesting that you pay a large sum amount of money before receiving certain goods or services.
Unexpected email or call requesting your bank account number or even the information on the bottom of your check.
An offer that is “too good to be true” or an investment opportunity that is “guaranteeing” a return that is way above the competition.
Someone expressing a new or unusual interest in your finances and pressuring you into sending funds quickly by wire transfer.
To find more tips regarding scams and frauds visit FBI’s website. They provide safety tips and ways to inform them in case a scam or financial fraud happens to you.
Your financial future and planning for retirement are very important. There are many informational resources that offer help and guidance for the years to come. Be smart, do your research and always ask questions.