1 Be aware of the financial scams that target the elderly
Financial scams are real, and scammers are increasingly clever.
You’re no doubt well aware of things such as online account hacks and emailing phishing. As a retiree, you can be the target of some pretty sophisticated fraud attempts.
Among the digital and phone schemes being used to target seniors today are:
- Grandparent/imposter scams, which are becoming more convincing with the help of artificial intelligence’s voice-cloning abilities
- Tax and debt collection scams
- Fake charity scams
- Telemarketer, mail offer, or salesperson scams
- Investment fraud and scams
- Lottery and sweepstakes scams
It’s no exaggeration to say that the laptops, tablets, and cell phones that we’ve all come to depend on can also make you potentially more vulnerable to fraud attempts.
2 Find a trustworthy person to help keep track of your finances
If you’re entering your retirement years, you’re likely to be a tempting financial target to some people. Just consider it: You may have money in one or more retirement plan accounts, you may be receiving monthly checks from Social Security and pensions, and you may also be sitting on some valuable property—such as your home, which might be paid off by now.
You may be perfectly capable of managing and safeguarding your finances yourself today. But rather than wait until you might need ongoing help, why not get started with building your support network?
To help get you started, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests finding a trusted person you can talk to about complex or concerning financial decisions or situations.
So, who can you trust with your financial information? The CFPB has supplied a few questions that can help point the way to choosing the right candidates, including:
- Do I trust these people?
- Do I feel comfortable sharing my wishes with them?
- If I’m thinking of sharing any responsibility or decision-making with them, are they willing and able to do so? Will they act in my best interest?
Keep in mind that a conversation partner/trusted contact relationship is informal and purely voluntary on both of your parts. Of course, if you have a spouse or partner, you may already be filling these roles for each other. But as time passes, you may also want to involve one of your grown children, a friend, or a financial professional in your financial decision-making.
If so, don’t do it casually and don’t let emotion lead you to a hasty decision. Trust and commitment are vitally important here. A conversation can come in handy:
- Are you thinking about a major home repair?
- Considering taking a loan or lending money out?
- Has somebody recommended a change in your investment approach?
- Is there an important conversation with a financial professional coming up that you’d like somebody to listen in on?
Don’t stew on it all by yourself—bring it up with your financial conversation partner.
3 Stay committed to keeping your accounts and property safe
There may come a time when you could benefit from the help of a financial caregiver to help keep things secure and on track. For today, being aware of the lengths some people will go to get access to your money, checking your accounts often, being smart about your cell phone and online activity, and talking over financial issues and decisions with a conversation partner can be a helpful starting point.
As for staying aware, the CFPB offers a full set of publications for you and the people you might consider to help out with your finances. We recommend spending some time researching and reviewing available resources.
Finally, keep in mind that there are financial professionals you can turn to for guidance on certain aspects of your financial life—or for a comprehensive approach.
The content of this document is for general information only and is believed to be accurate and reliable as of the posting date, but may be subject to change. It is not intended to provide investment, tax, plan design, or legal advice (unless otherwise indicated). Please consult your own independent advisor as to any investment, tax, or legal statements made.
MGTS-PS 420723-GE 7/23-420723 MGR0706232979781