You've planned well for your retirement, saving your money and investing it wisely. Now, your next challenge is to protect your savings by making sure your finances are handled wisely as you grow older.
Research tells us that financial decision-making can be one of the first activities that people may have trouble with as they age. It's also true that seniors are frequently targeted for financial scams, exploitation, and abuse, sometimes by strangers but too often by caregivers and family members. Protect your retirement nest egg with these expert tips.
1. While you're still fully able to handle your own affairs, assign a financial power of attorney to someone you trust so that there can be no question as to who you want making decisions for you in the event that your abilities start to falter; your lawyer can help with this.
2. Once you decide who you would trust with these decisions, talk to them about your wishes. Having frank and regular discussions about your finances will ensure you're on the same page.
3. Be aware that your financial advisors might raise these issues with you, so that they know how you would want them to proceed in the event that they notice changes in your abilities. Let your financial advisor know who your other professional advisors are, such as your lawyer or accountant. Introduce your financial advisor to your power of attorney and any other trusted family members or friends so that they can connect if it becomes necessary to protect you.
If you think your loved one might be losing their ability to make sound financial decisions, speak to them about involving their power of attorney or other trusted contact in their financial discussions. Watch for memory loss; changes in ability to do everyday math; confusion about time and place; missed appointments; changes in personal appearance; mood or behavioural swings, such as increased passivity, anxiety, or aggression; and taking longer to complete financial tasks, like writing a cheque or handling online banking.
Not everyone will experience these challenges, but they're common enough that we should take steps to protect ourselves and to do what we can to protect friends and family members.