Top Tips for Senior Money Management
by Eleanor Wyatt
Many seniors have concerns about their finances, especially when it comes to ensuring savings, investments, and other retirement funds last as long as necessary. Being able to leave an inheritance is another concern, one that savvy financial planning can help address.
Financial investing and money management can be complex and even overwhelming. Find a reputable advisor who can help you understand why they’re recommending a particular course of action, and do some research on your own. Senior organizations like AARP have financial literacy information and tools like retirement calculators designed to help people in a wide range of financial scenarios. Your bank or credit union may also have wealth management advisors who can help you identify and reach your financial goals.
Stay on Budget
Create a household budget and stick to it. This is especially important if you’re on a fixed income. Some people shy away from the term, “budget” because they feel it’s limiting, but a detailed monetary plan can be reflective of your financial situation, and doesn’t have to feel constraining. The key is in tracking what you spend, finding ways to save on expenses, and not exceeding your established parameters. You can even set up auto payments for recurring bills to protect against overdrafts and missed payments. This will give you peace of mind, as well as allow you to live life in the way you want.
Be Wary of Scams
According to the FBI, seniors are disproportionately preyed on when it comes to financial crimes. This can be especially problematic for those who are not very tech savvy, and might not readily recognize carefully crafted scams. Make it a point to never send money to strangers, and don’t share your debit card or credit card number or pin. Keep a diligent eye on your financial statements and be on the lookout for unauthorized charges. If something does seem awry, take immediate action by contacting your creditors. Consider locking your credit report so no one can apply for credit in your name without your knowledge.
Resist the Urge to Bail Out Kids
While you may want to use your financial resources to help your family, beware of continually bailing out kids and grandkids for poor financial choices or far-fetched business schemes. NBC News reports that this can lead to a repetitive cycle that depletes your cash reserves and could leave you without the financial resources you need now, and into the future. Also, use caution when co-signing for loans and vehicles and mortgages that could potentially put you on the hook for paying if a younger relative defaults.
Be Fair with Inheritance
While there are many ways to divide an estate, experts recommend being equal with your children to avoid the potential for discord among siblings after you pass away. If you have a concern about someone’s ability to manage their inheritance appropriately, ask your financial planner about establishing a trust or another mechanism for slowly releasing money over a period of time rather than in one lump sum. Some people also use this option for younger people, allowing a trustee to manage funds until they reach a pre-established age.
Continue Educating Yourself
One of the best things you can do for yourself, and your estate is to familiarize yourself with financial terminology and the pros and cons of different investment strategies. Avail yourself of resources from the U.S. Administration on Aging and keep an eye on things like home values in your neighborhood. If you decide to downsize to something smaller and more affordable, you could use the equity as a nest egg. Knowing the value of your home will help you stay apprised of current market value in your area.
Money can be a difficult subject to discuss as we age, but financial responsibility paired with knowledge and wise investment strategies can position you well.
About the Author
Eleanor Wyatt is a workplace wellness expert and writer. She created Remote Work Wellness to provide advice to the growing remote workforce. She thinks it’s essential that people who work remotely be proactive about their health, and that’s what her site is all about.
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