The leaves are turning, snow is on the ground in some places, and thoughts of Christmastime are beginning to percolate. This means it’s (another) perfect time to talk with your senior loved one about their financial health.
● Examine credit card & bank statements for recurring charges. Many seniors have services they signed up for ages ago, which they no longer use. Sometimes they’ve forgotten about the charges or just never found the time to cancel the service. Taking the time to compile a list of these charges, and to cancel the unused ones, will be worth the effort.
● Check credit reports. – Seniors, in particular, are frequently the target of identity thieves. A quick, occasional look at their credit report can help spot identity theft before it gets out of hand. You may want to consider helping your senior loved one to lock their credit. This will prevent new lines of credit from being opened without their explicit OK.
● Assemble & organize their regular payments. – Make a list of their principal, monthly payments, and assemble the most recent bills with their associated canceled checks or charges on a credit card statement. You may be surprised how many bills may slip through the cracks, or possibly be double-paid. Spending a couple of hours making a spreadsheet of these charges can help prevent a financial disaster down the road.
These sorts of financial checkups should be done every 6 months to a year, with more comprehensive checks done every few years.
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