For Seniors: 15 Quick Tips for Protecting Your Finances
As many consumers get older, they often face issues such as how to maintain their lifestyle and pay for medical expenses on a fixed income for years into the future. Here are banking and other money-management tips for seniors to consider for their retirement years.
- Decide if you need financial help from an expert, and then choose wisely. A financial advisor could help answer questions such as how quickly to take money from savings and how to invest in your later years. But FDIC Community Affairs Specialist Ron Jauregui cautioned that “before you follow the advice of a supposed ‘expert’ who claims to have special credentials for advising seniors, research what that title may or may not mean and the advisor’s background.” According to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB),
the training, standards and regulatory oversight for more than 50 senior designations used by financial advisors can vary significantly. To learn more about professional designations and for tips on choosing an investment advisor, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has a Web site at www.finra.org/Investors/ToolsCalculators/Professional
Prepare for the possibility that you may become unable to handle your finances.
- Consider writing down a list of your financial institutions and account numbers and keeping it in a safe place that would be accessible by your loved ones in an emergency. An attorney can help you decide if you should have a legal document known as a power of attorney (POA), which would allow one or more people you designate to make key decisions with as much or as little of your financial or personal life as you choose. Note that a “durable” POA takes effect when you sign it and remains effective if you become incapacitated, while a “springing” POA generally becomes effective only if and when you have been declared incapacitated. (The laws governing POAs vary from state to state, so consider consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable about such matters.) You can also add a co-owner to a deposit account, but that person has the ability to conduct transactions, including withdrawing money from a checking or savings account, without your prior approval. Your banker or attorney may be able to help you identify other possible alternatives, but you still must think carefully about who you give access to your money. Also, if your co-owner owes a debt and cannot pay it, the funds in your account may be taken to pay the debt.
- Develop a spending plan for your retirement. Having a plan for your money and limiting expenses in retirement is important. Consider new ways to cut costs, such as by letting your auto insurer know you no longer drive your car to work. “Consider continuing to put some of your…
This article was sourced from the FDIC.