Voluntary Purchases and More

Although many people buy a lottery tickets every now and then, few win any of the major prizes yet they continue to buy these tickets and jokingly refer to it as paying a “Voluntary tax”. In a similar sense, people can easily be convinced that the little gizmo they just saw advertised on TV is exactly what they need. Human nature has shown that many people have the tendency to ‘collect’ items even though they do not need them now or in the future. This latter voluntary purchasing activity is more common among elderly individuals who live alone or with a partner, and still manage or attempt to manage their own financial activities. It is very easy for a competent marketer or advertisement to convince some seniors that a particular item or subscription is exactly what the senior needs.

We can often assume that such behavior by itself does not impact the individual’s bottom line too greatly but the activity can lead to misuse of funds that could be better used to serve other of the senior’s needs. As the activity becomes more of a ‘habit’, the senior may not realize that he or she may need to cut back on purchase of other items or services so they can still make their “purchases”. In some instances, this may mean not paying off their credit card each month or not doing something else that is more important in their daily lives. Some seniors may have more credit cards than is reasonable and use each of them to support one or another aspect of their growing habit.

Unless the senior(s) in this situation have a trusted son, daughter or friend who is in frequent enough contact with them to notice their behavior, they will continue their negative behavior. Even if the individual has family, they may not live close by and not visit frequently enough to first, notice the behavior, and second, to assist the individual in an attempt to change this behavior. It may be possible that a family member is close by but that person may not be able to help and there are few organizations available to help the individual until the problem becomes so great that it manifests itself more severely. Simply stated, a problem sometimes needs to grow to a size that others (e.g. a Doctor, Minister, bank teller, good friend, etc.) can take notice and hopefully, offer options of help.

One way seniors can get the help they need is to have an assessment of their overall financial and estate matters done for them. This would also help simplify their day-to-day financial activities and ensure they have their “Life Documents” (Will, Power of Attorney, Health Proxy, etc.) in order. Often times, all it takes is for a trusted individual to examine the situation and make recommendations for improvement. This service, if provided by a Financial Concierge™, would perform a preliminary review of a senior’s financial activity and work with with one or more named trusted relatives or acquaintances to help identify and resolve these issues. A Financial Concierge™ could, in consultation with the senior, offer a brief quarterly or other timely visit with the senior and their trusted contact(s) to ensure the plan made to help the senior is working. In some cases, a Financial Concierge™ could assume the role of the trusted contact if the senior does not have family or friends who could assume this role.

In summary, the above course of action is of value for seniors who are cognizant and to their Executor(s) who would encounter fewer problems when the senior eventually passes away and their estate is processed. If a senior has a surviving partner, this service would prove invaluable to them as they carry on their life after the passing of their partner. Family members and most specifically the Executor(s) of a final surviving senior, would benefit from the exercise because, their being involved earlier would prepared them to execute their eventual duty. The living senior would have the satisfaction that their final wishes would be handled after their passing by the people they had appointed and trust.

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