Protecting what’s yours

Many difficult life decisions involve money, especially as you approach retirement or the time when you’ll no longer draw a regular paycheck. It’s important to take time to make sure you’re making wise choices. We’re here to help. 

Protect what’s yours by asking questions, reading our plain language guides, and discussing these issues with your family and trusted advisers.

It's your money. Ask questions.

It’s hard to ask about financial planning or products, but you don’t need to be intimidated. If you want to work with a financial adviser, ask questions. Before you sign anything or give personal or financial information about yourself to an adviser, ask: Are you licensed? How do you get paid? Are you working in my best interest? 

Know Your Financial Adviser ” is a guide to help you ask the right questions if you’re shopping for an adviser with expertise in senior financial planning. 

It’s your information. Protect it.

It’s hard to believe it’s a scam when you get a call from someone far away who needs help, but it usually is. Never give out personal information, such as account numbers, over the phone or online unless you know the company and initiated the call. Telephone and online scams are common and constantly changing, so you have to be proactive and protect yourself. Read through the "Money Smart for Older Adults " resource guide to learn more about fraud and scams and—most importantly–how to avoid them.

It’s your house. Keep it.

By some estimates, older Americans hold $3.3 trillion in home equity. Your home may be the most valuable asset you have. Before you do anything that would put your home on the line, make sure you understand what you are doing and can explain it to a friend in your own words.

Read our "Guide on Reverse Mortgages " and be careful when considering one. There are many factors to consider: your age, your financial needs and goals, and how long you expect to stay in the house. Even if it makes sense for you to take out the loan, learn about all the fees and compare interest rates before you sign anything.

It’s your retirement savings. Plan ahead.

People are living longer, so we have to be smarter about our finances as we retire.

Get an estimate of how much your Social Security retirement benefit might be, and how delaying your claim may boost your monthly benefit. Factors including the age you retire, your other income sources, and a spouse’s death can change your monthly benefit amount.