6 Easy Tips for Protecting Your Finances in Your Golden Years

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. senior finance

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.

5 Important Reasons to Review Your Estate Plan

Despite the world still having 100% mortality rate, planning for the inevitable is rarely something we look forward to. No one wants to think about their own mortality – and our families can be even worse; choosing to bury their heads in the sand rather than think about losing us.

Senior couple doing the income tax declaration online

That’s why many put off estate planning – or worse – never get to it at all.  And for those who do it, oftentimes, it gets done, you think it’s over and you shove it in a drawer and never think about it again. Sound familiar?

Not reviewing your estate plan on a regular basis can be almost as bad as not having one at all. Changes in your family, finances, investments, and laws can make the best laid estate plans, wills, and trusts, moot. Leaving your family with exactly what you wanted to avoid; questions, confusion – and worse, lengthy and costly probate.

Here are 5 reasons you need to review your estate plan:

1.   Family changes. It may be obvious that if you get a divorce, lose a spouse or child, or adopt a child (or disinherit one) that an estate plan review is in order. But did you know that this also applies to your children and other heirs?  If THEY get married, change their names, get a divorce, adopt children, or have any other changes in their family, it might be a good idea to take a look at your plan and see if any changes need to be made. This is also true in the case of incapacitation of a spouse (yours or your heirs’).

2. Changes in income. Whether it’s retirement, bankruptcy, inheriting money, winning the lottery (nice problem to have!), buying investment property (especially if it’s out of state), this is a huge reason to get your plan reviewed.  If it’s not included in your plan it opens your family up to expensive probate and other problems once you’re gone. 

3.  Changing state of residency. Trust and estate planning laws can vary by state – especiSenior couple in love during retirement - Happy elderly conceptally if moving from a common law to a community property state. So if you move be sure to contact your estate planning attorney for a review. 

4.  Changes in the law. You can’t possibly know every law and how it    affects your estate plan, and you especially aren’t expected to keep up  on changes in the law! A good estate planning attorney will do that for  you – and should contact you for an estate plan review if changes in the  law affect you.  We update our clients by email.  If you would like to add  yourself or your friends and family to the list, please click here.

5.  If you’re in doubt. If you are ever in doubt about anything, it’s best to check with your estate planning attorney to find out if you need to review your plan. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.