Critter Corner: How Can Seniors Make the Most of Financial Literacy Month?

Angel the catDear Angel,

I just read that April is Financial Literacy Month. What are some things I should think about when it comes to Estate Planning and retirement planning this month? Thanks for your help!

Fi Nanshill

Dear Fi,

Every April, we celebrate Financial Literacy Month to promote financial education and well-being. Financial Literacy Month began in April 2004 to highlight the importance of being financially aware and responsible.

During Financial Literacy Month and throughout the year, seniors can be financially responsible by managing income and expenses, medical bills, and insurance, and planning for health care decisions and long-term care needs. In other words, it’s particularly important for seniors to get their Estate Planning, Incapacity Planning, and Medicaid planning in order with the assistance of an experienced Elder Law attorney. This is particularly important, as research published in the National Library of Medicine has identified a connection between healthy aging, planning, and financial health literacy.

Here are some other benefits of financial literacy and planning ahead:

  • Seniors who understand the financial aspects of their care have greater autonomy and make more informed decisions.
  • By making decisions about health care and planning for incapacity with an Advance Medical Directive, seniors enjoy improved physical and mental health.
  • Developing financial skills can also promote self-advocacy in aging. It can help older adults access services and resources and do retirement planning and Estate Planning for the future.
  • Beyond financial health literacy, another important component of seniors being financially literate involves identifying and preventing financial abuse and fraud.
    • To safeguard yourself from exploitation, see an Estate Planning lawyer and have Incapacity Planning documents in place, including a financial power of attorney and advance medical directive. Plan ahead with these documents that give a trusted person the legal authority to make financial and medical decisions for you if you cannot. Make sure your banks and credit unions have a copy of your power of attorney on file so they know who can manage your money if you become unable to do so. Read more about this in our recent article about financial exploitation.
  • Set aside money in a savings account each month to build an emergency fund. Have enough to cover at least three to six months of expenses.
  • Make sure you are contributing to a retirement savings account if you are still working, and your employer provides a matching contribution.
  • Find and take advantage of every single credit and deduction for your taxes.
  • Work with a financial advisor who can help you create a plan to protect your finances. Besides being a Certified Elder Law Attorney, Evan Farr is also an experienced retirement planning advisor through his affiliation with Protection Point Advisors. Meeting with an experienced advisor (who is also an elder planning attorney) will help you to better plan accordingly, including considerations such as health, family, caregiving, long-term care costs, and finances in addition to traditional retirement planning.
  • Consider taking a quick test to find your financial GPA by clicking here.
  • Consider increasing your financial knowledge through financial education courses, which we offer at no charge through Protection Point Advisors. Also, consider sharing the above educational link with your children and/or grandchildren.

As we age, we sometimes need help managing our finances, so it’s essential to plan ahead. Who will manage your bills if you are hospitalized and can’t do it yourself? Who will handle your finances when you can no longer do so? Who will make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to? Take action today to create your Incapacity Planning and Estate Planning documents with an experienced Elder Law attorney and discuss your plans with those you trust to help ensure legal and financial peace of mind in the future.

Hope this helps!


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.