Protecting your finances is critical to ensuring your retirement remains as stress free and comfortable as possible. Maintaining your desired lifestyle while living on a fixed income, and managing medical expenses can be challenging. With this in mind we have 7 tips that can help you protect your finances after retirement:
1.) Decide if you need help from an expert
Consider seeking help from a financial planner. Financial planners are trained to deal with many personal financial concerns, they can help you set financial goals and priorities, then recommend the steps to take in order to meet them.
You may, however, get to a point where you or your family feel you can no longer manage your on your own. Some folks turn to a trusted family member or loved one for the help they need. If this is the case, I strongly encourage you to speak to an attorney who can help you decide if you should obtain a legal document known as a power of attorney (POA). A POA would allow you to designate one or more people to make decisions with as much of your financial or personal life as you choose.
2.) Research any financial advisors or attorneys before you hire them
It’s wise to research any expert before hiring them. 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.” When researching an attorney you can use tools such as www.Avvo.com where attorneys are rated by past clientele as well as other professionals. Yelp is also a great place to look for reviews. And don’t forget to ask friends who they use. Sometimes the best professionals come from referrals from people we trust.
3.) Know the signs of senior fraud
Financial fraud is any crime that targets your money through bank accounts, credit cards, or investment accounts. It can be likened to the modern-day equivalent of a pickpocket! Many con artists will ask for personal or financial information over the phone or email. BEWARE! Your bank or financial institution will never call or email you asking for personal information or details about your bank accounts, passwords, credit cards, social security number, etc. Be cautious and always err on the side of caution. Don’t be afraid to say no. If you ever have doubts call your financial institution directly (using the number you have on record or on their website- NOT the number provided by the caller or emailer) and ask if they’ve contacted you.
4.) Use credit cards wisely
Although retirees should avoid taking on more debt, when used wisely, credit cards can be very helpful. Some of them offer cash back as well as fraud and purchase protection. However, before making purchases using your credit card, it’s important to consider the ability to pay your balance in full when the statement arrives to avoid paying for the costly interest.
5.) Plan for your future and your family’s future – what if you become incapacitated.
The first step in planning for incapacity is to think about the issues that may arise. How do you want your assets managed? What medical treatment would you allow or not allow? Whom do you trust to make decisions for you? Meet with your family to discuss these and/or document your decisions. You can also seek help from an attorney to have the proper documentation in order to assure your wishes are honored.
6.) Organize all your important paperwork and keep it someplace safe
Make sure all your important documents are organized and placed in a safe location. Besides having a hard copy of all of your documents you may think about making a digital copy by scanning all your documents and placing them on a cd-rom or thumb drive. Either way, it will set your mind at ease knowing that everything is filed, in a specific location, and kept safe for the future.