Video: Seniors, Don’t Worry About Timeshares You Can’t Afford

MoneyTips

By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS
Nonprofit Law Firm

I just got off the phone with a senior couple who have a timeshare they can’t afford and don’t use any longer. They had called a company who advertised that they help people get out of timeshares. (I hear such advertisements on the radio and television regularly.) The senior couple had paid this company nearly $3,000. The next payment of $1,000 was scheduled to come out of their account in a few days. I took a deep breath and explained that they didn’t actually need to keep paying for their timeshare, let alone pay someone to help get out of it. The timeshare company couldn’t take anything from them if they simply stopped paying. The law protects their retirement income from collection – including wage garnishments and bank levies from the timeshare company. That includes Social Security, pensions, VA benefits …

6 Simple Steps To A Solid Financial Foundation (Infographic)

MoneyTips

There’s a lot of financial advice out there, from the Wall Street Journal to podcasts to your brother-in-law’s stock tips to “A penny saved is a penny earned.” The infographic above, developed in collaboration with the Common Cents Lab at Duke University, shows six simple steps to get your finances on sound footing.
The Common Cents Lab is a financial research lab that creates and tests interventions to help low- to moderate-income households increase their financial well-being. The lab is part of the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

After you have finished with the first 2 steps, tackle step 3. When that’s accomplished, try Step 4, and so on. With only six steps, it’s a lot easier than trying to read the 3000+ articles on MoneyTips!

You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes by

Bankruptcies Dropping Among Young, But Growing For Seniors

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Bankruptcy is a painful process at any point in life, but it’s especially excruciating when you are at or near retirement age. There’s no time to recover and build retirement income.

Unfortunately, seniors are declaring bankruptcy at an increasing rate. A recent study from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project found that the rate of Americans at or above age 65 declaring bankruptcy had increased by over 200% from 1991 to 2016. Because of the higher percentage of older Americans in the population, that translates to a nearly five-fold increase in seniors in the bankruptcy system.

The contrast is sharp among age groups over the same timeframe. The bankruptcy rate fell by 78% among Americans ages 18 to 24, by 64% in the 25 to 34 age group, and by 40% in the 35 to 44 age group. Meanwhile, bankruptcies rose by 66% in the pre-retirement group (ages 55 to 64).

Can This New Reverse Mortgage Alternative Help You?

MoneyTips

Reverse mortgages can be a useful tool for seniors attempting to convert the equity in their home into cash for living expenses or other retirement purposes. The loan is usually paid out over time instead of as a lump sum.

There are no repayments as long as the senior taking out the loan continues to live in the home, properly maintains it, and pays all the necessary property taxes and other property-related fees. Once the primary borrower passes away, moves away, or sells the property, the loan must be repaid.

The reverse mortgage loan, along with accrued interest, is repaid with the proceeds of the sale of the home. If any equity remains in the home, the proceeds go to the seller.

In essence, with a reverse mortgage, you are selling the equity in your home back to a lender in increments.

The majority of reverse mortgages are Federal Housing Administratio…

5 Steps To Take Before Retirement

MoneyTips

Are you planning to retire within the next 10 to 15 years?If so, are you ready to take retirement preparedness to the next level?

Retirement is no longer an abstract concept when you reach your 50s. It’s important to take a closer look at your financial plans now, while you have time to make any corrections. Consider these five steps to ensure the retirement of your dreams – or at least avoid the retirement of your nightmares.

1. Outline Your Retirement Goals – What do you really want to do when you retire? Buy a retirement home on the beach? Travel abroad? Start an expensive hobby? It’s time to figure out how to pay for those goals.

Lay out your primary retirement goals and estimate the major expenses associated with them. Place those expenses on a timeline spread throughout your retirement. You now have an estimate of how your cash flow needs will change because of your retirement plans.

2. Rethink Your Expenses –

Americans’ Financial Regrets

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Do you have any regrets in life? You’ve probably done a few things you wish you hadn’t, like adding sour milk to your coffee or washing your new red sweater with your good white shirts.

Those regrets can be painful, but the effects are short-lived. Financial regrets can have longer-lasting consequences – and, according to a recent survey from Student Loan Hero, 76% of Americans have some form of financial regret.

Most financial regrets come from the same basic principle – spending too much money instead of saving it.

In the past year, not saving enough was the top regret of 46% of survey respondents. Half of respondents regretted not saving more for retirement, and just over one-third would contribute some of their spending to a 401(k) plan or IRA if they c…

Seniors And Affordable Transportation

MoneyTips

By Eric Olsen, Executive Director HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm

Affordable transportation is often a concern for senior citizens. Some seniors go without basics to make car payments they can’t afford for a car with little or no equity. Others need affordable replacement transportation but don’t have the income to finance a car. What are some options for these seniors?

I am the Executive Director of HELPS, a national charitable nonprofit law firm that educates lower-income seniors on how to maintain their financial independence. We regularly speak with seniors searching for answers to transportation problems. First let’s discuss options for buying a car, then what to do if you have an existing car payment you can’t afford.

Financing a car from a dealer might not be the best option or even possible for a senior with lower income. Dealers generally sell used cars “as …

Video: Considering Borrowing From Your Retirement To Pay Off Debt? Don’t!

MoneyTips

Let’s say you’re tempted to make a withdrawal from your 401(k) plan to pay off some debts. You can always catch up by paying that money back into your retirement savings later, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Don’t rob your future to pay for your past! Watch Bankrate.com Senior VP and Chief Analyst Greg McBride explain how a decision like that will affect your retirement outlook over the long term in our exclusive video above. Let the free Retirement Planner by MoneyTips help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle.

If your credit is good, you may be better getting a loan to pay off your debts. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using

Don’t Borrow Against Your Retirement Plan!

MoneyTips

You are already dealing with increasing debt. Suddenly, you find yourself with an unplanned expense that you cannot afford. You look longingly at your 401(k) balance. If only you could access some of that money to meet your current needs….

In many cases, you can access that money without penalties by borrowing from your 401(k) — but most experts agree that borrowing against your retirement plan is a bad idea, for a variety of reasons.

Borrowers may not understand the long-term harm that they are doing to their retirement account, or they may understand it but still rationalize a retirement-backed loan as their best option. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate.com, uses the example of borrowers thinking that they are harmlessly paying money back to themselves but forgetting about compounding and the time value of money.

Such borrowers do not realize, says McBr…