May was Older Americans Month
Are your finances in order?
According to the 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, nearly one-third of workers have almost no retirement savings or investments (less than $1,000), and a staggering 57 percent are underprepared with less than $25,000 for retirement. It’s important to understand your retirement benefits so that you can live comfortably during retirement.
Did you know that May was Older Americans Month? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), stresses the importance for Older Americans to protect their assets. CFPB offers the following tips:
- It’s your money. Ask questions: It’s important to remember to ask questions about products that you do not understand. If you are in the process of looking for a financial advisor, do not be afraid to interview a few before making your final decision. Michigan State University Extension discusses “senior designation” titles that financial advisers use to market their services. To read the entire Senior Designations for Financial Advisors: Reducing Consumer Confusion and Risk report click here.
- It’s your information. Protect it: Scammers often target older Americans so it’s important to remember never give out personal information (i.e. account numbers, social security number) over the phone or online unless you know the company and initiated the call. Scammers can make these calls seem real but often they are not. If in doubt, do not give any information and call the company yourself via a confirmed phone number.
- It’s your retirement savings. Plan ahead: If you are not at retirement age, it’s important to understand how much you will need to survive during retirement. You should review your retirement/pension plan to understand how long the benefits will last. Additionally, learn the rules for social security benefits. How much will you get, and what tax will you pay? Visit Social Security Administration to learn more.
- It’s your house. Keep it: By some estimates, older Americans hold $3.3 trillion in home equity. Your home may be the most valuable asset you have. Unfortunately, many people are thinking up scams to take that away from you. Be careful when considering a reverse mortgage. There are many factors to consider – your age, your financial needs and goals, and how long you expect to stay in the house so be sure you understand the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.
- It’s your money. You can say no: Scammers target polite people because they have a harder time saying no. If you receive a phone call it’s okay to say “No, I am not interested,” and hang up the phone.
These tips can help you protect your assets before and during retirement. Be sure to visit CFPB’s dedicated section for Older Americans that provides information on a variety of topics. It takes time, patience, and discipline to improve your financial health. Additionally, visit Michigan State University Extension for more information on this topic as well as a variety of other resources.