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Money management as you age

Managing your day-to-day finances as you age can be time-consuming and even start to feel overwhelming at times. Health and other age-related issues can also reduce your ability to manage your money well in some cases. 
The first step to managing your money and finances well as you get older is to understand your situation and then ask for help, as needed. Here are three steps to help you get going. 

1. Review your finances

Begin by reviewing financial records and bills to find any potential issues and gauge where you may need help. Your review should include: 
  • Bank statements 
  • Credit card statements 
  • Mortgage statements 
  • Tax records 
  • Investment account statements 
  • Credit reports 
  • Utility payments are up to date 
After you’ve organized your finances, start putting together a plan and budget. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this process, it’s OK to seek help from a loved one. 

2. Get help with bill paying and decision making

Having someone you trust help you manage your finances can be a tremendous help as you age. Creating accounts with joint access, trading authority, or setting up a power of attorney are great ways to get this established. 
For daily money management and bill paying, some people choose to use joint accounts. A joint account can let a family member or caregiver easily access money to pay bills for you or keep an eye on expenses. However, it’s important to understand that a joint account gives each account holder ownership of the money with equal rights to deposit, withdraw, and manage the money—and that may not be your intention.  
Another choice would be to consider granting your loved one authorized access, which allows you to maintain ownership of the money, but gives them the ability to help manage the account. At Fidelity, you can grant someone limited or full trading authority on an account, depending on your financial needs. 
Granting a power of attorney to someone may also make sense. Doing so gives that person the ability to legally act on your behalf. In this regard, you are allowing someone to act on your behalf as if they were you. This may help avoid future disagreements or legal disputes among family members, who all have your best interests in mind. 
If you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, consider getting some or all of these financial safeguards in place early. 

3. Add a trusted contact to your financial accounts

By designating a trusted contact, you’re giving your financial institution permission to contact them on your behalf if they, the financial institution, have a financial or medical concern. Examples might include: 
  • Financial fraud or abuse. The concern that someone is taking advantage of a customer or is forcing them to take financial actions that might not be in their best interest. 
  • Diminished capacity. If a customer is showing signs of cognitive decline and your financial representative feels they are unable to responsibly act on their own behalf. 
  • Medical emergency at the office. If a customer has a medical emergency and a loved one needs to be notified. 
Trusted contacts don’t have access to transact on accounts, they can’t deposit or withdraw money. The ability to name a trusted contact may not be available on all types of financial accounts. 

Give someone access to your accounts

When you add an authorized user to your accounts, you choose the level of access to give them.

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This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.

Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.