How to Identify and Avoid Scams Targeting Senior Citizens

Scammers will use any means to extort money from those they deem to be the most vulnerable. Often, they target senior citizens. Many seniors are targeted on a daily basis by predatory scammers and con-artists looking to take advantage of them, and keeping your elderly loved ones informed has never been so crucial.

If you’re worried that you or a loved one is being targeted, this guide will help you learn about common scamming methods, how to avoid becoming the target of a scam, how to recognize signs that someone is being affected by a scam, and what to do when you’ve discovered that a scam has taken place.


Social Security Planning

Social Security was established in 1935 to alleviate poverty among the elderly during the Great Depression. Millions of Americans continue to depend on Social Security today, either as their primary source of income or a supplement to their pension and/or personal savings.

Back in 2011, in order to save $70M annually, the Social Security Administration stopped sending out annual benefit statements except to workers age 60 or older who are not yet receiving Social Security benefits. Now all individuals must go online to get their annual benefit statement. Benefit payments are also going electronic only. If you are currently receiving Social Security benefits, go to or call 1-800-772-1213 to set up direct deposit.

The key word in the title “Social Security Planning” is “Planning”. This is the crucial process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal. Social Security Planning is critical because it allows you to maximize the benefit you can receive from Social Security.


Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You?

Are you 62 or older?
Do you own you home (or are you close)?
Do you live there the majority of the year?
Do you plan to live there for many more years?
Do you need money to modify your home to make it more supportive for age related changes or to meet rising medical costs or other needs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to learn more about “reverse mortgages”. This form of financing enables many seniors to remain in their homes. Reading this article will help you determine if a reverse mortgage might be an option for you. If it is, you may want to do more research and/or you may want to see someone who can explain a reverse mortgage in detail. Reverse Mortgage Counselors, Inc. is an neutral, non-profit HUD certified organization that educates people about reverse mortgages; you can reach them at 651-368-8516.  (more…)

How a HECM for Purchase Can Help You Make Your Move

Seniors are learning a reverse mortgage can be used to take advantage of current favorable real estate conditions to buy their retirement home

Last June, Andy and Beatrice Hollimon traveled from their Midwest home to Florida for vacation. There, they looked at a few homes to see what local real estate was available. “For about 15 years, we’d been dreaming of someday retiring in Florida,” Andy explained.

Having kept an eye on real estate trends, Andy felt that buying a property sooner would be financially advantageous due to favorable real estate market conditions. The challenge: Andy didn’t think they would be able to fully retire and make that move for another ten years.

Now May be the Time to Buy 

According to CNBC, strong economic growth and low interest rates have created the perfect economic mix for a strong housing market in the first part of 2015.[i] In fact, a recent Zillow report indicated that buying a home in most markets is now more affordable than it was 15 years ago.[ii]

Like the Hollimons, many Americans nearing retirement dream of moving for better weather, to find a smaller home or to be closer to family. For Andy and Beatrice, a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase — a reverse mortgage loan used to purchase a home — made it possible for them to buy their dream home and retire a decade sooner than they imagined. HECM loans have provided a host of benefits for more than one million U.S.seniors who have leveraged this flexible retirement planning tool. (more…)

Fast Facts on Reverse Mortgages

A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is a type of reverse mortgage.  A HECM is federally insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  There are other types of reverse mortgages, but the HECM is the most widely used. You need to be counseled by a HUD certified reverse mortgage counselor before you proceed.  Certain states have specific requirements and if you are pondering a reverse mortgage and reside in Minnesota, you must have counseling by an agency that is physically located in Minnesota, such as Reverse Mortgage Counselors, Incorporated. For more information call 651-368-8516.  (more…)

Beneficiary Review

Many people have a good idea who they want to inherit their wealth but often the beneficiary designations do not keep up with their intentions. Marital changes, death and changes in family status may require an update to these designations. If the primary beneficiary precedes you and no contingent beneficiary is named, then payments would likely be made to your estate, creating unnecessary delays and expenses. (more…)

Five Wishes

Five WishesIf you’ve considered creating a living will, you know how valuable this legal document will be. It could make all the difference in how you are treated—should you become seriously ill.

Numerous living will templates exist and are available to you, often at no charge. These include the Minnesota Statutory Health Care Living Will; the Minnesota Statute § 145C Health Care Directive; and many others. Using such formal documents can certainly “get the job done.” But it can feel awkward and cold. (more…)