Staying financially savvy is important at any age. For seniors, it’s essential to understand the basics to protect assets and long-term financial security.
Living in an assisted living or other senior community can help simplify finances. Most expenses are covered through an all-inclusive monthly fee, eliminating the need to make mortgage, home insurance, or tax payments, or to tackle bills for utilities, maintenance or repairs. Still, it’s important to understand the basics of how money works. Here are some key areas to consider:
Be aware of scams.
Fraudsters often target seniors, and they devise new, diabolically ingenious ways to do it almost every day. Never let anyone pressure you into signing a document or turning over sensitive information. Assume any unsolicited phone call is from a scammer. Never wire money or pay a debt with a prepaid gift card.
Keep track of the latest scams by subscribing to email updates from AARP’s Fraud Watch Network: https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/
Remember -- fraudsters often fool even the savviest people, especially if they’re caught off guard. Forewarned is forearmed.
Protect your identity.
Scammers also target seniors for identity theft. Don’t share your Social Security number or bank information with anyone who calls or emails you. Never click on an email requesting your login credentials. If in doubt, call the bank or credit card company using a known phone number.
Know where your money is and where it is going.
Track all of your assets regularly, whether they’re in savings, stocks, bonds or other assets. Check your credit record and score frequently. You or a trusted family member can likely do this easily online. Report any unexplained activity immediately.
Get expert help.
Turn to a trusted elder law attorney or money manager for advice on the best timing to begin receiving Social Security payments. Ditto for help with investing your money, estate planning, Medicare, and health insurance.