The National Council on Aging reports that approximately 25 million adults living in the United States aged 60 or over are living at or below the poverty level. It's no wonder navigating paying for basics like housing, food, insurance, and medical costs are difficult. It's a battle seniors face daily. It can be very confusing.
Here are a few of the issues to keep an eye out for and help your loved ones deal with.
Rising Costs in Daily Living Expenses Due to Inflation
It's no secret when inflation is out of control, prices go up on everything. It's the unseen services that catch you off guard. Things like the costs of medical visits and insurance. You typically won't find out about these until you've been sent the bill and services are already rendered. If you're not careful, they'll creep up and cost you before you can do anything about it.
Being caught off guard and racking up unforeseen bills can lead to debt accumulation. Living on a fixed income doesn't allow flexibility to 'get caught up'. Credit cards can quickly lead to compounding the issue. Most people go their entire lives without understanding how interest and late fees actually work.
The Dangers of a Reverse Mortgage
While bankers and realtors make a reverse mortgage sound like an easy means to an end, seniors may soon find out they don't receive the money they had hoped for and discover they're now having difficulty keeping up with homeowners insurance and property taxes. This puts them in danger of losing their homes while still owing the money they hoped the reverse mortgage would take care of. Financial Advisors don't recommend reverse mortgages as an option.
While reverse mortgages are not considered a scam, the older adult community is considered a primary target for scammers due to naivety or trusting adults who don't understand the technologies that exist or what suspicious activity looks like. Scammers come at seniors fast and are persistent. Their agressiveness tends to come off as an authority your loved one should be listening to.
Ways You Can Help
Though these are only a few of the issues elderly people face, there are several easy ways in which you can get involved and help.
Help put together a budget they can put their eyes on and understand. Follow-up on the budget regularly.
Educate your loved ones on scams. Simply talking to them and making them aware is enough to recognize one when it's happening to them. Help them understand scammers will stop at nothing and that strangers do not care about your financial security. Simply 'telling stories' about others in the news is a good method to drive the point home.
Accompany them to an evening adult class at community centers, community colleges, or even financial organizations.
Advise them on the dangers of credit cards and reverse mortgages. If you feel you're not being listened to, get a professional involved. Many financial advisors will come to your home. They often provide free planning assistance.
Advise them on the dangers of credit cards and reverse mortgages. If you feel you're not being listened to, get a professional involved. This is where a professional fiduciary can play a very important role. Fiduciaries assist elderly in every aspect of their lives on a regular basis and serve as a source of security, compassion, and strength to clients and those supporting them through challenging life transitions.
Fiduciaries help their clients assess, plan, implement, and monitor their financial, legal, and personal care needs with integrity and trust. It is their duty to protect the wishes and best interests of those they represent. AD Fiduciary is a 5 star example of what fiduciaries do. For more information, look at these frequently asked questions here.