Seniors With RV Payments They Can’t Afford

MoneyTips

By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm

Recreational Vehicle (RV) loans last typically for 10-15 years and sometimes up to twenty years. Often a medical condition or simply a change in lifestyle makes the RV no longer necessary. Sometimes a high RV payment can become simply unaffordable. What are the solutions for seniors with an RV they no longer need or with an unaffordable RV payment?

If you have equity in your RV, meaning it is worth more than what is owed, you can sell it, pay off the loan, and pocket the difference. Or you can sell the RV for what it is worth and cover the difference owed to the bank, so the bank will release the title to the new purchaser. However, often more is owed on the vehicle than the amount it would sell for and many seniors can’t afford to make up the difference. I have been an attorney for over forty years and am the Executive Director of HELPS, a national charitable nonprofit law firm that helps seniors …

Why You Don’t Want To Be “Credit-Retired”

MoneyTips

You’ve reached a point where you don’t have to use credit cards anymore. Your home is paid off. You don’t have other outstanding debts. You must be an excellent credit risk, right?

As strange as it sounds, creditors do consider you a risk when you’ve become “credit-retired.” If you haven’t been using credit for some time, you don’t have any recent information in your credit report – which is the primary method lenders use to assess your risk. If lenders can’t assess your risk, they won’t extend credit.

Why do you care about credit ratings if you have resources to pay for everything? For one reason, you can’t count on those resources lasting – consider a stock market crash, an expensive medical condition, or other event that could rapidly drain your resources. You could eventually be in a situation where you need credit again for a large purchase – such as replacing your car or downsizing to a new home – and cash simply isn’t feasible at the time….

Achieve Financial Literacy!

MoneyTips

April is National Financial Literacy Month. Why do we dedicate this calendar page to highlighting financial skills and education? The tax deadline? Sound financial decisions are important all year long, but most Americans never learned how to manage money or save for goals, so financial security is a bigger challenge than it needs to be.

Even if you can handle the math involved — and calculators can help if you can’t — things get complicated when making large (often emotional) financial decisions. Some of the most common pitfalls are described below. If you recognize any of them, you’re not alone. The good news is that you have an opportunity to improve your finances and save more money.

Emergency Preparedness

An emergency fund is essential because you need to absorb life’s surprises without making things worse. Without a stash of cash, you’ll have to take…

Young Seniors Have High Non-Mortgage Debt

MoneyTips

By Sandra Parsons

Debt is a major barrier to financial well-being among Americans. While we tend to think of debt as an issue affecting young and middle-aged people, the truth is that senior citizens carry debt, too. Among seniors approaching retirement, debt can be an obstacle to maximizing savings. Retirees living on a reduced income may find debt especially crippling in an economy of rising costs.

Using an anonymized sample, LendingTree analyzed 2018 second quarter credit report data for 75,000 My LendingTree users aged 65-70 across the fifty largest metropolitan centers in the US. They calculated three main metrics: median non-mortgage debt balances; distribution of debt by type (auto loans, credit cards, personal loans, student loans); and average credit score. The results might surprise you.

The Average Median Non-Mortgage Debt Among Retirement-Aged…

Free Government Program Can Help You Master Your Finances

MoneyTips

You’re never too old to learn new things – including better money management practices. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) agrees.

To address financial literacy concerns, the FDIC created the Money Smart teaching program in 2001 to help educators and financial institutions increase consumer understanding of basic financial systems work and how to use them to stay financially healthy.

The Money Smart for Adults program is expanding to include more topics. According to the FDIC website, the updated Money Smart for Adults program is set to begin in fall 2018.

The updated program contains eleven separate modules that take one to two hours of time per module. Topics include how banking services work, the basics of credit and credit histories, how to use credit cards…

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

MoneyTips

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…