Protecting The Financial Wellbeing Of Our Elders
When we think of the wellbeing of the elderly people in our lives, such as family members from the generation or two before us, we may primarily think of what we can do to ensure their physical and mental health. However, financial crises in our later years can leave us especially vulnerable, too. Here are some of the major financial risks our elders could face and what we can do to help them.
1. Helping Them Stay Organized
As we grow older, we may start to have trouble managing our own money and become more vulnerable to some of the risks mentioned below. If you’re concerned about the financial well being of a loved one, the best first step is to talk about how they are going to handle their finances. There are several different ways to take over a loved one’s finances, including getting power of attorney or becoming the trustee of a living trust in their name. Besides helping them maintain their assets, it also ensures that the person given control over their finances also has an obligation to fulfill.
2. Financial Abuse Is A Real And Substantial Threat
Again, with abuse, we tend to think of physical, emotional, and mental harm that can be done to the elderly. However, financial elder abuse is much more common than we might think. Taking advantage of elderly people, exploiting them by over-billing, bank fraud, coercion into signing documents, and cashing checks without their permission, are serious threats. If you notice changes in your loved one’s financial condition, missing cash or possessions, or large withdrawals from their accounts, it could be a sign of financial abuse that may require some legal help.
3. Keeping Them Aware Of Scams
Scams are largely considered a kind of financial abuse, but it is important to ensure that conversations are frequently held on scams that may be a local or relevant concern. For instance, if a loved one uses online banking of any kind, then they must be made aware of online security standards and certain risks such as phishing scams to keep their money secure. Stay up to date and aware of scams targeting the elderly or anyone who uses the same services or lives in the same area as your loved one.
4. Watching Over Their Credit
If your loved one is opening any new lines of credit, then it’s recommended that you are involved in the conversation, ensuring that they are budgeting to pay it off securely. Otherwise, you can protect their credit by checking their credit report and making sure that no new loans are being taken out in their name that they aren’t fully aware of, which constitutes identity theft. You can even arrange a security freeze to limit the potential of this happening to them in the first place.
5. Discuss Insurance
It’s wise to open up a dialogue about different kinds of insurance that might help them out with their money. The idea of becoming insured at such a stage in their lives might not be an exciting prospect, but it’s certainly sensible as we just don’t know what might happen to them one day. Their home, their belongings, and even their own health can be at all kinds of risk if they’re not careful. Dealing with the fallout of these kinds of disasters can be very costly and entirely unneeded at an older age. Whether you decided to choose a level funded health plan or a simple home insurance deal, you’ll likely be a lot more secure than before.
Being aware of the vulnerabilities of the elderly people in our lives and doing what we can to protect and inform where possible is important. Hopefully, the tips above can help you do that.
[a contributed post]
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