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8 Ways to Avoid Financial Frauds That Target Seniors

8 Ways to Avoid Financial Frauds That Target Seniors
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Each year, millions of seniors fall victim to financial fraud or other scams. These tips are useful for seniors themselves as well as their family members to help protect them. These types of crimes are top priority for those that are in the business of fraud, not even stopping when the victim might happen to be a family member. All too often these crimes go unreported, but using these tips, you can help prevent them in the first place.

1. The Risks Don’t Come from Only Strangers

It has been reported that over 90 percent of abuse to the elderly is done by the older person’s own family. There are many tactics for this include draining joint bank accounts, promising care in exchange for money or property but never delivering on it, and plain theft. If you are or know of a loved one that is being abused financially

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2. Give All Solicitors the Same Answer

Never buy from an unfamiliar company, and always wait to donate to a charity until you’ve read their written material. Of course there will always be children in the neighborhood fund-raising for their school, so they are an exception. Generally, it is wise to never donate to somewhere that requires you to write down your credit card information. Get any sales person’s name, company, phone number, address, and business license number before making a transaction.

3. Stay Involved Locally

Sometimes, older people will isolate themselves by withdrawing from their community while others become isolated as they lose the ability to see, hear, walk, and the like. These seniors can become victimized through muggings and purse snatchings when they choose to venture out alone. There are usually community centers and even family members that will help the elderly stay active in communities aimed at seniors.

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4. Never Give Personal Information Out Over the Phone

One of the large scams involving seniors is the misuse of Medicare money. Some schemes that involve this are billing for services that were never delivered and selling unnecessary services or devices to Medicare beneficiaries. Protect all Medicare information the same as bank information. Also, ensure that Medicare statements are being checked monthly to account for any services. Some seniors experience false debt collections attempts over the phone, and these bank collection complaints should be taken to the authorities.

5. Sign Up for the “Do Not Call List” and Remove Yourself from Mailing Lists

Visit the government’s Do Not Call List signup in order to stop telemarketers from contacting you. Check your mail regularly, and don’t let anything sit in the mailbox too long. When you are sending out particularly sensitive mail, see if you can drop it off at a secure collection box or at the post office.

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6. Shred Receipts

To protect yourself from identity theft, invest in using a paper shredder. Regularly check on your bank statements and don’t ever give out personal information over the phone to someone that calls you from a “business”. If anyone get a hold of your personal banking or financial information, to ensure that you will not encounter identity theft.

7. Choose Direct Deposit Over Checks

When you use direct deposit rather than a check, scammers won’t have the chance to steal benefits checks from the mailbox. A direct deposit will ensure that the money goes straight into the bank account. While the government does use targeted surveillance for certain things, they are not able to monitor all seniors’ bank accounts to ensure that there is no suspicious activity.

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8. Stay Skeptical

Try not to rush into making a purchase, and take the time to call around prior to making a decision. Proceed as an informed consumer. It would also be a good idea to have a friend accompany you to anywhere that you may encounter a difficult decision. It is vital to read all contracts or purchasing agreements before signing anything. Try not to feel pressure when making a purchase, these decisions are only yours.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

Financial Freedom is Not a Fantasy: 9 Secrets to Get You There

Financial Freedom is Not a Fantasy: 9 Secrets to Get You There
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Have you ever considered your life now, and how it would be if you had more time to spend with your family and less worries about money?

Nowadays, financial stress is one of the most troublesome weights in life. If you’ve ever encountered financial stress, you know the difficulty of not having enough income to pay your obligations or bills.

Many people say that money is not the ultimate goal of life. While that’s true, money certainly plays a very significant role. The meaning of financial freedom changes with the different phases of our life, but ultimately, it is something that many people strive for.

In this article, we’ll explain how to capture that financial freedom you’ve been looking for. Read on to learn the secrets to financial freedom.

Break Free of Your Finances

Financial freedom is about having a constant flow of cash from your assets to cover all your regular needs.

When you are not worried about your income, or living paycheck to paycheck, you gain a great sense of freedom. It’s the freedom to be obtain and do what you truly need to make your way through everyday life.

Gaining financial freedom, though, is a process of growth, making small improvements and gaining emotional strength.

Though it seems hard to believe, it is really very simple to get financial freedom.

To do so, you simply need to make sure that your assets exceed your liabilities. In other words, you’ll need to find the sweet-spot where your residuals meet or surpass your expenses. This is something that you can achieve with the proper plan.

While not every person will accomplish financial freedom, the potential for anyone to do so is certainly there. Anyone can achieve this success, regardless of their income level.

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Outlined below are 9 secrets that will help you in your goals of achieving financial freedom.

1. Stop Unnecessary Spending

We often spend money inwardly, instead of objectively.

For example, you may spend when you’re anxious, depressed, restless, exhausted, from fear of missing out, or to please others. This is a very unhealthy way to handle your finances.

To stop this habitual spending, log down all your spending over the course of a month.

Just as some people keep a food diary, keep an expense diary. Remember not to just write down how much and what you spent the money on, also include the circumstances of why you spent the money. Was it an impulse buy at the checkout line or was it something you planned to purchase?

This increased self-awareness could enable you to avoid triggering situations in the future when you are considering an impulse buy.

2. Plan a Monthly Budget

This is a great opportunity to get serious.

Take a seat with your spouse or partner and make a monthly budget based on your income, not your expenses. You are never again going to spend more cash then you have on hand.

Overspending is the thing that led you to more financial obligations. Make sure you decide every month what is coming in and what will be going out and stick to that budget… no matter what.

3. Cut-up Credit Cards

Perhaps you are the type of person who always pays your credit card balance in full before the end of your billing cycle, and enjoys the reward points you gain. If this is the case, then you’re already way ahead of the game.

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If not, you may want to consider ridding your life of the burden that credit cards bring.

Many cards have strategies set up so that if you make a certain number of late payments, they will raise your interest rate much higher. This can really add up in the long run and you won’t be doing your financial situation any favors. If you’re prone to late payments or have a large balance due on your cards, cut them up!

Without proper self control on credit card spending and payments, you are basically throwing your money away. To ensure that you have better control over your spending, use only cash or debit for all future purchases (and don’t forget to pay at least your minimum payment on your cut-up cards each month!).

4. Increase Savings

There is no doubt that for a comfortable retirement you must accumulate satisfactory savings throughout your working life.

It’s good practice to save up to 15% of your income.

Start with your workplace 401(k), if you have one. If not, a Roth IRA (if you are eligible) or a traditional IRA (if you are not eligible for the Roth) are the next logical steps.

Increase in longevity means you might be able to look forward to 25 to 30 years in retirement, or possibly even significantly more. Investing now in good retirement plans will ensure that you have a guaranteed a stable monthly income when the time comes to stop working. [1]

5. Invest Wisely

Consider investing in funds.

Specifically, you will gain higher returns if you invest in different types of mutual funds such as Debt funds, Equity funds and Hybrid funds with a proper balance, although it absolutely relies on your personal preferences and sense of risk taking.

To get the most of these benefits, make sure you are investing in a variety of assets. Another resource of investing in mutual funds is SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) where you invest some money every month in funds. SIP works by averaging the per unit price of the stock.

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Mutual fund investors are aware of the benefits of an SIP (Systematic Investment Plan). For one, it is the most secure way to invest in equity mutual plans so that wealth is created over a long period of time. This plan also helps you to gain a better sense of financial discipline, which will come in handy in all your financial endeavors.

6. Invest in Gold

There isn’t really a better way to invest in gold than to have the physical gold itself in your possession.

You can purchase gold coins and bars from mints as well as from coin dealers and other private sellers.

Another way to invest in gold is through ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds).

These are is similar to mutual funds but they are exclusively investments of gold. ETFs are great because they offer more liquidity; the ETF owns the actual physical gold, stores it, and retains the value of the shares. These shares can then be bought and sold in the stock market, and one big benefit is that the transaction costs of gold ETFs are much lower than the that of physical gold.

With its consistently-increasing demand, investment in gold can be very wise long-term investment to make.

7. Stash Emergency Funds

Whether it’s a cash gift or a work bonus, always try to save any extra money that comes your way rather than making unneeded purchases.

If you get paid every other week, you’ll get an “extra” paycheck (three rather than the usual two) twice a year. Either save those paychecks towards your emergency funds or utilize the money to pay down other obligations, such as loans, credit cards or other debts.

Make it hard to get your cash.

Put your savings in an alternate bank, maybe an online bank that forces you to delay for several business days before transferred money hits your regular bank account.

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8. Find Fabulous Mentors

Find a mentor, such as a friend or family member, who has exceptional control over their finances and pay attention to everything they do.

If you do not have any friends or family that are enjoying financial freedom, then find a mentor online! There are numerous blogs and guru websites featuring the advice of many people who have reached financial freedom, and they exist primarily to let you in on how to achieve it for yourself.

There are also plentiful forums available that share tips and tricks on how to best achieve financial freedom. Read as much as you can and start changing your habits for the better.

9. Be Extra Patient

Patience is the key of financial success.

Being patient can be quite tough, especially when you’re struggling with your finances, but having faith is worth it. You’ll continuously be on the right track if you are taking the proper steps above.

So don’t be discouraged, even if you are only saving a few dollars a month; it all adds up. Within just a few years you’ll look back proudly at your accomplishments and be glad that you had the patience to get there.

Financial Freedom for All

Anyone can achieve financial freedom, regardless of their financial circumstance.

Use the tips provided above to get yourself on the track to financial freedom and toss your monetary concerns out the window. If you wish to achieve a life with financial freedom for yourself and your family then you must adopt a disciplined approach towards your finances.

Following the simple secrets above is a great start to making your money work for you, so you can work less and live more!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Hartford Gold Group: IRA Retirement Accounts

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