Budgeting retirement funds. Paying off the electricity bill due tomorrow. Actively tracking your bank account activity and balances.
As much as no one likes discussing finances, it is a conversation that is necessary to have, especially when you may be struggling to manage money as a senior.
Read on to learn 5 useful money management tips for seniors and what to do if you no longer feel capable of handling your finances.
Personal Money Management Tips for Seniors
1. Create a Personal Budget and Track Expenses
No matter what age you are or how much money you have, it’s easy for finances to get out of hand when you aren’t actively budgeting your money or tracking expenses.
To avoid any conflict, if you have a partner, it is important that you plan your budget together and come to an agreement on what you should be spending your money on, as well as how much.
Budget all expected expenses such as food, home modifications, health insurance, clothing, medical treatment, help from caregivers, and prescriptions, and discuss who will be responsible for paying for which expenses.
Take into account that life is unpredictable and unexpected expenses may arise. Your budget doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it helps to have a rough idea of who is responsible for what, as well as a plan of action for unforeseen circumstances and expenses.
Most importantly, remember to hold yourself and your partner accountable by actively tracking your expenses.
2. Take Advantage of Senior Discounts and Benefits
Who doesn’t love a good discount? One of the best benefits of getting older, without question, is all of the discounts and benefits that you are now eligible for as a senior citizen, so take full advantage of all of them. You’ve earned them.
From delicious discounts at restaurants to cheaper movie tickets, even the simple joys of life can be experienced at a lesser expense.
Don’t be shy. It never hurts to ask about any senior discounts or benefits you could be entitled to wherever you go, and you may even uncover some useful information for the future.
Remember that although they may not seem like much, these discounts and benefits build up. Taking advantage of all of the senior discounts could save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
Click here to see some of the senior benefits that you could be taking advantage of today.
Click here to see some of the discounts offered for seniors in the U.S.
3. Make Technology Your Friend—Set Up Automated Payments and Manage Money Online
Although technology can seem intimidating at first when you’re not familiar with it, technology is your friend and can actually serve as a useful tool for managing your money.
For example, with so many bills to keep up with these days, it can feel next to impossible to keep track of them all.
Fortunately for you, it is now common for people to pay their bills online. This means that you can sign up for reminders for these bills that will alert you, usually through your email, that it’s time to make a payment.
Furthermore, there is usually an option available to set up an automated payment. This means that whenever your bill is due, the system will automatically pay your bill for you, using the card that you have on file.
Beyond being able to better organize your bills, you can also utilize apps on your phone to help manage your money. You can also download your bank’s app so that you can easily access your balances and monitor your account activity.
4. Protect Yourself from Financial Fraud
Sadly, seniors are one of the biggest targets for financial fraud, so it is vital to be on the lookout for any scams or suspicious activity in your bank account.
Never give out any personal information, such as your bank account information, to random callers, even if they claim to be from your bank. They might be a scammer trying to gain access to your bank account and money.
If you get a suspicious text, email, or call that claims to be from your bank or a company, it is important to verify that it was actually them that tried to contact you before taking any action.
You can do this by calling the company directly using their official phone number. You then can make sure that it was them that tried to get in contact with you.
For more useful tips on how to avoid scams as a senior, click here.
5. Keep Learning—Continue to Improve Your Financial Literacy and Money Management Skills
It’s never too late to start learning—There is always something new to learn, even for the most experienced and knowledgeable.
You can always improve your financial literacy and money management skills. From classes in your community to online financial resources for seniors, there is always a way to sharpen your skills.
To learn about more resources for managing your finances as a senior, click here.
What to Do When You Can No Longer Handle Your Senior Finances
Sometimes handling finances alone may not be a viable option for you as a senior.
Don’t worry. There is no shame in asking for some help, and there is plenty of help out there at your disposal, from financial advisors to money management resources.
Find a Financial Adviser—How to Find a Financial Advisor
A financial advisor is someone who has expertise in managing money. Their job is to evaluate your personal circumstances and financial goals, providing expert advice and recommending the best course of action to help meet your needs.
For some, a financial advisor may be a good option to help manage your money.
However, it is important to choose someone who is qualified, trustworthy, and can meet your needs with a realistic plan that fits your budget.
For advice on selecting a financial advisor that is right for you, click here.
Ask for Help from Trusted Family Members
Turning to a trusted family member to help you manage your finances can be a good option for seniors who live close to their family or have strong relationships and frequent communication with their loved ones.
In some cases, when a senior’s mental capacity is declining or completely absent, it may be necessary for family members to take complete control over their loved one’s finances legally.
For more information on how to navigate a formal arrangement of managing a senior’s money who is mentally incapacitated, click here.