The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) has noted:
As an older investor you are a top target for con artists. The files of state securities agencies are filled with tragic examples of senior investors who have been cheated out of savings, windfall insurance payments, and even the equity in their own homes. This is the bad news.
Now the good news: You can avoid becoming a victim by following 10 self-defense tips developed for seniors by NASAA:
- Don’t be a “courtesy victim.”
- Check out strangers touting “strange” deals.
- Always stay in charge of your money.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover.
- Watch out for salespeople who prey on your fears.
- Don’t make a tragedy worse with rash financial decisions.
- Monitor your investments and ask tough questions.
- Look for trouble retrieving your principal or cashing out profits.
- Don`t let embarrassment or fear keep your from reporting investment fraud or abuse.
- Beware of “reload” scams.
Now my take on the NASAA’s recommendations:
As we age we have experienced enough that we assume things are always going to stay the same. But times change and this change brings with it new products, new technology, new methods of processing, new ideas, and so forth. Old ways go away and die. Because of this, we have to step up our willingness to pay attention to the details and not just be satisfied with the status quo.
Here are some additional suggestions for those in the retirement years that I have personal experience and want to suggest as a way to help protect your valuable nest egg in a period of your life that can make you quite vulnerable to changing times.
First, make sure you have a loved one who has your best interest at heart to assist you in making financial decisions. Get their perspective as a check-point for your actions. You don’t need to agree with them at all times, but at least have a third party’s input.
Second, keep a journal of decisions made. This allows you to refer back to what you have discussed about financial mattes and how things need to proceed as you age; it will help you recall assignments given and received.
Third, when making decisions, assess all options, make a choice, record it on paper, and then wait a week. Don’t jump into an action quickly, if at all possible. Seeing the decision on paper and looking at it over a period of time will give you perspective.
Fourth, track results and compare. We all know that flying from New York to Los Angeles is not a straight line. The pilot must constantly adjust for the wind-currents that continually force the plane off its course. Pilots say that they are on direct course only 20 percent of the flight time. Most financial decisions are similar to flying across country, so don’t be discouraged if adjustments are needed. Track adjustments and compare with what you originally planned. You will learn a ton about the situation and be able to make better decisions going forward.
Fifth, experience is a good teacher so learn from her. I have had my share of experience. Some has been bad and some has been good. The point is, don’t waste what knowledge you have gleaned from prior experience. Use it to set goals about where you want to be in five and 10 years and make decisions based on your goals and objectives, not on someone else’s.
For more clarity of thought go to www.moneymastery.com.