New Year, New You: Financial Awareness Month

With the start of every new year, people make resolutions to make big changes. But what if we just improve on things we already do, like keeping track of our finances? With just a few helpful financial tips and reminders, 2016 can shape up to be so much easier.

Keep tabs on all your money coming in and going out. Budgets are great to help organize your monthly expenses and make sure you don’t overspend. Many people find it helpful to use labeled envelopes to track each monthly expense. This helps people physically see where the money is going,​rather than a list on a sheet of paper. Every person is different, so choose what’s easiest for you.

When an aging senior can no longer keep track of their finances by themselves, Secure Aging can step in and ease some of those problems. Our basic service helps seniors reconcile their check registers, eliminate bank fees for insufficient funds, and eliminate interest charges on credit card balances. Going a bit deeper, the enhanced service package includes developing budgets and managing cash flow for our clients. Secure Aging’s goal is to safeguard your loved one’s finances and ease the burden for seniors and their family.

Plan ahead for the months to come. Strive to maintain an emergency fund that will last you for at least three months without income. No matter how much we plan and organize, something could go wrong and it’s always best to be prepared.

Ask about a senior discount. Whether it’s a huge family trip or a simple lunch out, it never hurts to ask. Many restaurants have offers for seniors over 55 years or even rewards programs. When a fun trip comes around, discounts can help make way for even more enjoyment.

Go through a trusted source. If you’re making purchases online, make sure you are going through a well-known site that you trust. If you have repeat monthly purchases like magazine or newspaper subscriptions, automatic withdrawals can be convenient,​but it’s an easy way to lose money when you’re no longer using the subscription.

Stay vigilant in public. While out and about, try to avoid carrying​ a lot of cash in your purse or wallet in case of theft,​ or simply setting it down and forgetting about it. If you’re using an ATM, keep an eye out for anyone trying to sneak a peek at your pin number. It helps to cover your hands when you’re typing on the keypad. Be sure the machine is done asking questions and that you take your receipt before leaving. You don’t want to leave anything behind for someone else to find.

Keeping your finances in check may not always be fun, but it’s important to be aware of where your money is going. If you have an aging loved one who can no longer keep track of their finances, our caring professionals at Secure Aging are here to help. We offer services from tracking monthly income and expenses, to fully advocating for our clients’ well-being and safety. We are here to help make your life easier and keep your loved ones safe.

Reba Rogers, CPA, is the founder of Secure Aging, a group of care managers who preserve the independence and protect the assets of seniors by helping them with financial management. She is also a Director Consultant for BNI (Business Network International), a referral marketing organization which gives her access to many trusted business professionals in the community.

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