11 money tips for older adults
When money matures
Getting older isn't all bad. If you've accumulated wealth over your working years, it can be the time to enjoy all of that hard work. But financial stresses often arise, including budgeting concerns, income limitations and even fraud. These tips will help older adults ensure their cash lasts as long as they do.
During retirement, income tends to be lower than it was in the prime earning years, and that means older adults need to look for ways to limit expenses to make their nest eggs last. Eric Meermann, a certified financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group and contributor to the new book, "Looking Ahead: Life, Family, Wealth and Business After 55," says one key is to track living expenses to make sure you don't burn through savings too fast.
Don't be too generous.
When grown children are struggling with their own financial lives, it can be tempting to open up your bank account to them. The problem with this approach is that it can stress your finances and lead to family tension. That's why Bart Astor, author of "AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life," says it's important make protecting your money a priority, even while trying to help your children.
Plan with your partner.
Even if you've been married to your spouse for years, it's possible that you have different visions of how to spend your retirement years. That's what Ellen Rogin, a financial services professional and co-author of "Picture Your Prosperity," discovered when she learned her husband wanted to spend time on a sailboat in the Caribbean. Once she knew about his dream, they could start planning for it.
Make sure your bank is on your side.
Some banks cater to older clients more than others, with perks such as using larger print in communication, meeting outside of the bank and speaking clearly without being condescending. Asking about your bank's age-friendly policies before you need them can help ensure you don't get frustrated with its policies later.
Put fraud safeguards in place.
Older adults are at a greater risk for financial fraud, but there are ways to reduce that risk. Family members can be alerted to large withdrawals from accounts, debit cards can be programmed to only work in certain locations and names and numbers can be placed on "do not call" lists.
Prepare for cognitive decline.
When it comes to managing money, signs of cognitive decline tend to show up in one's 60s and 70s. It can become harder to manage bills, calculate tips and make change. Sometimes adult children or others can help prevent bigger problems, like falling behind on bills, by noticing those red flags and stepping in to help.
While cognitive decline is real, other research suggests that older adults with higher levels of financial literacy are more likely to have higher wealth levels. Understanding concepts of investment risk and the stock market is associated with the ability to build and preserve wealth, according to the research of Joosuk Sebastian Chae of the University of Massachusetts.
Protect your digital assets.
If you're active on social media or have an extensive digital library or music or books, you'll want to consider how to pass on those digital assets when you die. You can include your wishes in your will, pick someone to share account information with and restrict your privacy settings now so you're not oversharing personal details with strangers.
Get money help from your adult children.
Adult children can often play a useful role in helping their parents manage money as they age. It's important to enlist the support of children before experiencing a crisis or cognitive decline, so they know the basics of where to find account information if they need to. Talking through plans and wishes, and even writing out an overview of how you want to manage money as you age, can also help.
Consider launching a business.
Starting a business in midlife or later can add to your income in retirement as well as bring a measure of professional and creative satisfaction even after you leave your day job. Author Lynne Strang, who opted for self-employment at midlife herself, found a huge growth in the amount of support available to older entrepreneurs, including at AARP and the Small Business Administration.
Teach your grandchildren about money.
Grandparents can play a significant role in teaching grandchildren about the value of a dollar. A 2014 survey from TIAA-CREF found that many young people say they are open to talking about finances with their grandparents, but only a small percentage actually have those conversations. Still, most grandchildren say their grandparents do influence their financial habits.
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