When it comes to money, we have a lot to consider as we age. Bills, insurance, pensions, and retirement planning might all feel overwhelming. But as we approach later life, we must carefully monitor and manage our finances. Naturally, each person’s situation is unique, so developing a practical financial strategy for your needs is critical.
To help you plan for your future, we’ve put together a list of expert-approved finance tips for older people.
Quick Financial Tips For Seniors
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation offers the following tips for seniors to help them in financial planning for their retirement years.
Decide if you need financial help from an expert, and then choose wisely.
A financial advisor could guide you on whether to withdraw funds from savings and how to invest for the future.
Ron Jauregui, a community affairs specialist for the FDIC, issued a warning: “Before you heed the counsel of a self-proclaimed “expert” who asserts to have unique credentials for counseling elders, examine what that title may or may not include and the advisor’s history.”
Visit the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority website to learn more about professional qualifications and advice on choosing an investment advisor. Additionally, you can look up financial advisors in the following free directories maintained by organizations dedicated to professional financial planning:
- X.Y. Planning Network
- ACP (Alliance of Comprehensive Planners)
- The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
- Garrett Planning Network
Prepare for the possibility that you may become unable to handle your finances.
Consider compiling a list of your financial institutions and account information and storing it somewhere safe where your loved ones may get it in an emergency. An attorney can assist you in determining whether you should have a power of attorney (POA), which enables one or more people you name to control as much or as little of your financial or personal life as you desire.
Develop a spending plan for your retirement.
It’s crucial to have a financial strategy and keep spending to a minimum in retirement. Think about finding new ways to save money, such as telling your auto insurer that you no longer drive to work.
Seniors should continue to save some of their income, especially for immediate needs like holiday gifts, says Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC’s Outreach and Program Development Section, as doing so can prevent them from making a sizable, abrupt withdrawal from their retirement accounts.
Consider limiting the mail and phone calls you receive from marketers.
Unwanted offers from unknown businesses may cause you to overshoot your budget or pay for subpar goods or services from suppliers that need to catch up to their work.
Think about signing up for the USA Do Not Call Registry (call 1-888-382-1222 or visit www. donotcall.gov). Additionally, at least once a year, go over the privacy notices that banks and other financial institutions with which you do business provide you. They describe when and how you might restrict sharing particular information about yourself.
See the Federal Trade Commission information on stopping unwanted mail and phone calls.
Review your credit reports even if you don’t plan to apply for a new loan.
Do this since inaccurate information in your credit reports may increase the cost of your insurance or loan applications. Another strategy to spot identity theft is to keep an eye on your credit reports.
Order your free credit report at least once a year from each of the three main credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. You may dial 711 for TTY service and ask the relay operator for 1-800-821-7232.
Think twice before accepting an offer to “advance” (lend) a portion of your future pension, Social Security, or other retirement income.
These offers resemble payday loans and come with high fees and interest rates. As you repay the initial loan, you can find yourself taking out further loans of a similar nature in the future, incurring further fees and interest.
Reynolds suggests checking with your bank and other financial institutions if you need to borrow money quickly and comparing their products based on annual percentage rates.
Use credit cards cautiously.
Even though taking on debt can be expensive, many seniors have large credit card debt. Consider if you can pay off the entire sum on your credit card when the statement is sent before making purchases to save money on interest fees. Even modest purchases can result in significant credit card charges.
Remember that a reverse mortgage will eventually have to be paid back — with interest.
As long as they adhere to the terms of their loan arrangement, such as paying their property taxes on time, homeowners age 62 and older can borrow against the equity in their homes without having to make monthly payments. The borrowed funds plus interest must be paid back someday, usually when you or your heirs sell the home.
Some experts advise that if you get a reverse mortgage and reside in the house with your spouse, you both sign the reverse mortgage agreement to ensure that the surviving spouse can stay in the house even if one of you passes away before the other.
Consider ways to turn a hobby or another interest into a part-time job.
Seasonal employment or independent consultancy are other options for boosting your income in retirement. But think about how this additional cash can impact other areas of your finances based on your income, such as a potential rise in your Medicare expenditures or a brief decrease in your Social Security benefits. Also, take into account any tax ramifications.
Saving and Investing
If you’re considering an annuity, understand the potential pros, cons, and costs.
Annuities are financial products connected to a consumer and insurance company contract. You have certainly seen or heard advertisements for annuities. Insurers, banks, and other financial institutions sell annuities. A single or a series of payments are made to the insurance company to purchase an annuity. In exchange, the business agrees to pay you through a single lump sum payment or a series of payments over a predetermined time.
Know as much as you can before investing. A good place to start is on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Website or by calling the SEC toll-free at 1-800-732-0330.
Know if you’ve agreed to let your bank cover certain overdrafts.
If you use your debit card to make regular purchases but don’t have enough money in your account to cover the cost of the purchases, your bank may impose a fee, possibly $30 or more, on you. Additionally, you have the option to alter your mind at any moment.
According to a recent CFPB study, individuals who have “opted in” (accepted) to be protected by an overdraft program are more likely to pay steep fees and risk having their bank accounts closed than those who do not.
Checking your account balance before using your debit card or writing a check is another technique to prevent overdrafts. Additionally, ask your bank to, for a modest fee, link your checking account to savings to cover any overdrafts.
If you have questions about overdraft fees or checking accounts, check out the Ask CFPB database of common financial questions and answers.
Suppose you have concerns with overdraft fees or any other financial products. In that case, you can submit a complaint online or by calling (855)411-2372
Skim into discounts and other deals.
For customers over a specific age, several financial institutions may give discounts on the cost of bank products and services. But even if your bank gives seniors a discount, you might be better off elsewhere or with a different kind of account there.
Comparison shopping is important, according to experts. Banks and other businesses may negotiate fees or other account terms, so be sure to show them what their rivals offer in the form of questions. The listed price may not be the best one you can receive.
Make managing your money and paying the bills easier.
If you’ve amassed several credit cards, bank accounts, and investment accounts over the years, think about closing those you don’t use or need. Your need to manage as many accounts as possible may decrease.
Additionally, there are advantages to using direct deposit to have upcoming payments, such as pension or tax rebate money, immediately placed into a cost-effective or cost-free checking or savings account. It’s likely less expensive and provides more features than alternatives if you handle that account correctly and avoid costs. Additionally, you can set up recurring transfers from your bank account to consistently deposit a specific sum of money into a savings account or U.S. Bonds for saving.
Consider extra ways to save time and money.
Alternatives to paying your bills electronically will probably be offered by your bank and the businesses you work for. Online bill payment is one of these possibilities, as are automatic withdrawals from your account. These can help you save time and money by preventing erroneous bill-paying journeys. Additionally, automating payments on time can prevent late fees and service interruptions.
Read Also: Making The Most Of Your Retirement Money
Manage and safeguard your important documents.
Your bank and brokerage statements, insurance policies, Social Security and employer pension records, and other personal and financial documents that you or your family might require immediately should all be kept at home in a safe location that is convenient for your access. Ensure your checkbooks, credit cards, and other financial records are secure if carers or other individuals frequently visit you.
Note-Worthy Advice From Financial Experts To Seniors
Organize and simplify your finances. The likelihood that you, or someone acting on your behalf, may make costly financial blunders is increased by complex investments and dispersed bank, brokerage, and retirement accounts. Financial institutions may have a harder time spotting fraud in your accounts if your assets are dispersed over numerous accounts, according to Jessie Doll, a wealth management adviser at TIAA.
One taxable account, one regular IRA, and one Roth IRA should remain., says Carolyn McClanahan, director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Fla.
Examine each of your accounts carefully, and try to summarize each one’s goal in a single statement., says Tom West, partner at Signature Estate & Investment Advisors in Tysons Corner, Va. That can assist you in thinking about assigning and rebalancing those accounts, as well as anyone who may later assist you in managing your finances.
After you have streamlined your money, list your assets and important connections, such as financial advisors, accountants, insurance agents, and lawyers. According to Lewis Knopf, a daily money manager in East Rockaway, New York, such a list can be “a lifesaver” when someone has lost mental capacity and you “have no idea how many accounts they have, who their attorney is, or where their tax records are.”
Get your spouse engaged right away if they normally avoid discussing money. Anek Belbase, a co-author of the study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, advises making sure your spouse is prepared to manage finances if something happens to you. They are especially vulnerable to making costly errors when forced to take over household finances.
Get Professional Help
Having a financial advisor for an aging family member can be as important as having a doctor or lawyer. Since older adults are vulnerable to sickness and financial abuse, it’s only important that they have access to professional help regarding their finances.
Here are a few tips when looking for a financial advisor from Forbes Advisor:
- Determine what part of your financial life you need help with
- Learn the different types of financial advisors
- Choose which financial advisor services you want
- Decide how much you can pay your financial advisor
- Research financial advisors
Finding a financial advisor requires research into their track record and any problematic interactions with prior clients. At FINRA’s broker check site, you can look up any regulatory blemishes on the advisor’s background.
Where To Get Free Financial Advice
Financial Planning Association (FPA). The largest network of qualified financial planners providing these services is the FPA, which has 80 active chapters across the country. They can provide over 15,000 hours of free financial planning advice to eligible people because of the grants they receive.
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). Charge-only advisors participate in a volunteer program called “Advisors Give Back” through their Consumer Education Foundation, where they offer to waive their fees for selected clients.
Savvy Ladies. Since its founding in 2003, Savvy Ladies has offered over 25,000 women independent, unbiased financial advice on various topics, including family budgeting, debt management, retirement savings, student debt, career planning, and divorce. This advice has been delivered via blogs, webinars, events hosted locally, and a free financial helpline that offers an hour on particular questions.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This agency administers and enforces federal rules and regulations to ensure that banks, lenders, and other financial institutions provide consumer financial goods fairly and competitively. They also function as the official government body that provides financial guidance on various subjects, including student loan debt, mortgages, retirement planning, and more.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). The IRS offers free tax assistance to those who earn $60,000 or less and those who are disabled or have difficulty communicating in English.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). For taxpayers 60 and over, the IRS has a distinct program focusing on retirement-related concerns, particularly for seniors, including pensions. The Tax-Aide program of the AARP Foundation is largely responsible for managing these initiatives.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD offers counseling services, including guidance on housing-related concerns such as mortgages (both conventional and reverse), foreclosure, eviction proceedings, and credit problems.
National Council on Aging (NCOA). The NCOA has fought for senior people’s rights in several sectors since 1950, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act.
National Foundation for Credit Counseling. In all 50 states, licensed counselors can help clients with debt management, relief, and ongoing financial coaching and education to prevent a recurrence.
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). SCORE was established in 1964 and offered free assistance to small business entrepreneurs. Numerous executive volunteers assist small businesses with planning, starting up, and expanding.
Every adult needs to take care of their finances, but seniors have particular needs to bear in mind. Priorities frequently change as retirement nears. Typically, this entails altering both spending and saving habits. As you get closer to retirement, evaluate your finances and money management to ensure you’ve prepared enough for the future.
Your retirement and golden years might be more joyful the better you plan. Getting expert accounting and tax counsel may also be beneficial, particularly if you have a business or other significant assets to manage.
Apart from learning how to manage your spending habits, it’s also important to learn how to protect your assets since seniors are prone to financial abuse. To help you, we’ve created a guide on How To Protect Your Asset As A Senior, and the Ways To Protect Seniors Against Investment Fraud