Things to Know, Websites to Use
It's your money. Keep it.
It’s hard to ask about financial planning or products but it’s your money. Ask questions. Don’t be intimidated. If you want to work with a financial adviser, interview a few before choosing one. Before you sign anything or give personal or financial information about yourself to an adviser, ask questions: Are you licensed? How do you get paid? If your friends or family give you advice or information, it’s up to you to question them: Where did you get the information from? Who gets paid what? Are you making any money on this? Here are some web smart resources for protecting your money and learning more about investing for retirement.
Federal and state securities regulators oversee investment companies and products. For information about how to protect your savings from investment fraud, go to:
- www.investor.gov (Securities Exchange Commission)
- State regulators’ investment website
- FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, provides investor educational materials and tools and calculators such as the FINRA BrokerCheck to help you check the background of your investment professional or firm.
It’s your house. Keep it.
By some estimates, older Americans hold $3.3 trillion in home equity. Your home may be the most valuable asset you have. Unfortunately, many people are thinking up scams to take that away from you. Before you do anything that would put your home on the line, make sure you understand what you are doing and can explain it to a friend in your own words. Be careful when considering a reverse mortgage. There are many factors to consider – your age, your financial needs and goals, and how long you expect to stay in the house. Even if it makes sense for you to take out the loan, learn about all the fees and compare interest rates before you sign anything.
Go to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for:
It’s your retirement savings. Plan ahead.
We are living longer, so we have to be smarter about our finances as we retire. Before retiring, find out how your pension plan (or your spouse’s) works. Should you take it in regular payments or as a lump sum? Your choices will affect how long it lasts and whether your spouse gets survivor’s benefits. Learn the rules for social security benefits. How much will you get, and what tax will you pay? Factors including the age you retire, your other income sources, and a spouse’s death, can change the answers to these questions.
- Find out about your Social Security Administration retirement benefits from the official Social Security website.
- For free, personalized pension counseling and assistance go to pensionhelp.net.
- From the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Target Your Retirement is an interactive program that helps near retirees develop a reasonable plan for maintaining their standard of living in retirement. With user inputs, the program calculates an income target and estimates how close the user is to hitting it. Target then lets users adjust three powerful levers – controlling spending, working longer, and tapping home equity – to help meet their goal."
It’s your decision. You can say no.
Scammers target polite people because they have a harder time saying no. If you feel pressured to make a decision, chances are you are being pressured. It may be hard, especially if it is a friend or relative, but just saying “No, I am not interested,” may save you from being scammed. You don’t have to stay on the line if you feel uncomfortable. Tell them you’re going to hang up, and then DO IT.
For how to spot and avoid scams, visit these sites:
Hang Up on Phone Fraud