How can we help seniors manage their finances? With these tips, seniors can manage their finances better. And if they ever need help, they can shift their financial management to someone they can trust.
1. Use direct deposit.
First, use direct deposit for income form pensions, annuities, and Social Security benefits. Not only will this save a trip to the bank, it also avoids the risk of a paper check being stolen, lost, or forgotten.
2. Consolidate retirement accounts.
Consolidating retirement accounts into fewer accounts may make it easier to evaluate and manage savings, as well as to take any minimum distributions that are required. Also, when moving money between retirement accounts, it’s a good idea to use a trustee-to-trustee transfer rather than moving the money yourself.
3. Consolidate financial accounts.
It can be a lot easier to manage your money when you have your money in fewer accounts at one bank. But make sure to consider the FDIC insurance limits on money held at one institution before consolidating.
4. Pay bills automatically.
For recurring bills, have the biller automatically deduct payments from a credit card or bank account each month.
5. Arrange for third-party notifications.
Arrange to have companies that provide critical services, such as electricity, send notices to you if they miss payments and the service is to be disconnected. Also, ask the tax office to notify you if they miss tax payments and are in danger of losing their property.
6. Get the proper legal documents in place.
Work with an estate planning attorney to get a power of attorney for finances in place. With this document, seniors can grant someone they trust the authority to manage their financial affairs if they reach a point of mental or physical inability to manage them on their own.
Moreover, a revocable living trust is also a way to transfer control of finances. The successor trustee can manage trust assets when the senior is no longer able to manage them.
7. Find out whether your bank will honor the power of attorney.
Some banks may not honor a power of attorney unless it was created using forms provided by the bank or unless they run it by their legal department. Therefore, we suggest checking with the bank ahead of time.
8. Prepare a financial overview.
An overview of their finances ready and waiting will make the process much easier. Consider making a list ahead of time that includes:
- Information about their financial accounts, insurance policies, sources of income, regular bills and debts.
- The location of all of their estate planning documents, prior tax returns, birth and marriage certificates.
- The names and contact information of their financial and legal advisors.
Store the financial overview in a secure place. Also, make sure you can also access it if necessary.
9. Get professional help.
Hire a tax advisor to prepare tax returns and a financial advisor to manage investments. Also consider hiring a daily money manager to handle financial tasks, such as paying bills, reviewing statements, and dispensing cash.