5 Benefits of Financial Literacy

Tim Watt  |  March 6, 2015
5 Benefits of Financial Literacy
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As a senior, you may experience some life changes or major transitions. With them, it's important to keep your finances in order. However, many older adults may lose track of their finance payments in the shuffle, which could cause problems down the road. Luckily, several workshops are popping up across Canada to specifically help seniors understand how to best manage their money. Consider these benefits of being financially literate as a senior.

1. Recognize fraud
Seniors are one of the most popular groups to be targeted by fraudulent schemes, the Institute of Financial Literacy noted. These tactics are easy to believe and often cause older adults to put their trust in fraudulent people or programs. However, most seniors will end up losing significant amounts of money, leaving them unable to pay for bills or support themselves. Certain fraud protection workshops, such "Savvy Seniors," a program from the Better Business Bureau, help seniors recognize common signs of fraud, according to Programs for Elderly. Common signs of fraudulence may include ordering products off a fishy website, winning a trip that needs to be paid for upfront or scams that pressure people to pay now to get the best deal or offer. Seniors may also be victims of identity theft, if they aren't careful who they share their bank information with. Knowing how to recognize these scams can protect seniors' financial information and potentially catch those committing fraud, the Institute of Financial Literacy noted. 

2. Prepare for retirement
Some seniors may not have anticipated what comes with retirement and a limited budget, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada notes. Some seniors may still be living beyond their means, which could push them into debt. Every older adult should be able to live a comfortable life once he or she retires. However, adequate planning is needed in order to save enough money before retirement and know how to handle money once in retirement. That's where financial workshops come in, such as "Strengthening Seniors' Financial Literacy," a program that's part of the FCAC's National Strategy for Financial Literacy. This program can train older adults how to keep a close eye on bills and understand how to live on a smaller income. They also can teach seniors how to properly save money and organize financial assets so that they can be used when needed and provide older adults with the financial cushion they need. Financial classes can also educate seniors about the transitional changes in retirement and what that might mean for your wallet, especially if you move into an assisted living or retirement community

3. Seek out help when needed
Sometimes, seniors may be embarrassed or too shy to ask for financial help from loved ones or a consultant. However, knowing when help is needed is the best way to keep yourself financially afloat. Though older adults can pay for a financial adviser, there are also public services and programs that seniors can use to get financial advice, the FCAC noted. These financial workshops can provide seniors with the information they need to contact or attend these programs and services if they are in a bind or simply curious about a specific financial asset.

4. Learn how to cope
Major life changes that impact your finances may be difficult. However, learning how to deal with these inevitable life alterations can help make the process go a lot more smoothly and allow you to be more prepared later on. Workshops established by the FCAC, in collaboration with programs such as the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement help address common life changes that occur to older adults and how to cope with these significant transitions. They also may discuss making the transition smooth by slowly reducing your hours at work, or working part-time until you decide to fully retire. These subtle changes may be easier than leaving your job entirely in one action.

5. Get educated by experts
All of these financial programs, including Your Money Seniors, are created and taught by educated, successful bankers in your area, CARP assured. These services are free to all seniors and are taught in both French and English for people of any age. Your Money Seniors, for instance, is broken into three separate seminars that are divided by topic, CARP noted.