When Best Laid Plans Go Astray

When most people plan for their senior years, they mostly think about a will that specifies how their assets will be distributed upon their death.

But there are other things to think about as well, such as what will happen if you have a stroke, develop a serious illness or become incapacitated?

What should you or your loved ones have in place in those circumstances?

It is extremely important to consider and plan for serious illness, not just death. While we are living longer, that doesn’t always mean we are living healthier. Stroke, complications from diabetes or osteoporosis can lead to nursing home placement. A legal plan must be established with the help of an elder law attorney when a person is healthy so that a difficult situation doesn’t become more difficult when illness or incapacitation occur.

Here are some suggestions for how you can plan ahead for serious illness:

Continue Reading When Best Laid Plans Go Astray

Is a Joint Bank Account Right for You?

Many people, as they get older, choose to have a joint bank account with a family member, such as a son or daughter.

The idea behind this is to have one less thing to worry about since a joint account is an easy way for someone else to have access to funds for day to day expenses. While this sounds great in principle, there are pitfalls to having a joint bank account:

Continue Reading Is a Joint Bank Account Right for You?

Steps to Prevent Identity Theft and What to Do if It Happens

Identity theft isn’t just an unauthorized charge on a credit card. Identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission, “occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.”

Although financial institutions, health care companies and other businesses have taken steps to improve security measures, you cannot rely on them to protect you. Taking steps now can prevent you from a major headache later.

PREVENTION – Be sure to always review your monthly statements from your checking or other financial accounts. The earlier that you catch an error, the easier it will be to resolve it. Also, balancing your check book will help you see where your money is going and will help you spot any unauthorized charges or withdrawals. Continue Reading Steps to Prevent Identity Theft and What to Do if It Happens

Scam Alert! Financial Scams Targeting Seniors

Financial fraud is one of the fastest growing forms of elder abuse. Financial elder abuse is when someone illegally or improperly uses a vulnerable senior’s money or other property. Many states now have laws that make elder financial abuse a crime and provide ways to help the senior and punish the scammer.

Elder financial abuse is tough to fight because it often goes unreported. Many elder victims are often too confused, fearful or embarrassed by the crime to report it. A recent study by Consumers Digest estimated that there are five million cases of this financial abuse in the United States each year, but law enforcement only learn about one in twenty-five cases.

You can protect yourself and your loved ones from financial elder abuse by familiarizing yourself with the most common scams and learning what to do if you suspect foul play.
Scammers target elders that they perceive to be vulnerable. It is often those who are isolated, lonely, physically or mentally disabled, unfamiliar with handling their own finances or have recently lost a spouse. Continue Reading Scam Alert! Financial Scams Targeting Seniors

Retirement Planning

iStock_000011860918Small

No matter your age, there are certain things that you need to do to prepare financially for retirement. The earlier you start, the better off you will be.

  1. Save!
    It is recommended that you put aside at least 10 to 15 percent of your annual income. You should put more away if you are closer to retirement and haven’t put much aside yet.
  2. Create an Emergency Fund
    Creating an emergency fund will insure that you will have some money to help you out if a situation arises where you lose your regular source of income. It should have enough money to last you three to six months. It is for emergencies only, so a purchase of a new flat screen TV doesn’t qualify.
  3. Pay Down Debt
    If you are struggling with debt, there is a technique by Dave Ramsey called the “Debt Snowball.” List your debts from lowest to highest. Pay the minimum balance on all of your debts, except the smallest, and pay down the smallest debt fast. Once your smallest debt is gone, move onto the next lowest debt and work on getting that paid. Continue this process until all debt is gone. Continue Reading Retirement Planning