Aug 12th, 2013 | By | Category: Senior Finances

Underneath the Glamour

SCJ editors recently spent a holiday in a popular international resort, Cabo San Lucas. While there, they attended a presentation about buying a membership in a local resort, and discovered why resort memberships and timeshares are considered the number one regretted-purchase by seniors.

The presentation was shiny and glamorous, with all the positives highlighted clearly. However, when pressed for costs additional to the membership itself, they quickly learned there is a ‘maintenance fee’ for every stay at the resort that is almost equal to a regular guest week at the place. Such memberships/timeshares are clearly designed for the benefit of the owners and the 1%, into which categories most of us seniors do not fall.

The ‘Be Aware’ List for Seniors

Timeshares aren’t the only bug-a-boos out there beckoning seniors’ money. There are some additional purchases that seniors find troublesome, after the fact. Here are just a few:

  • extended warranties for technology and appliance purchases; most of these warranties are never used and unnecessary;
  • schemes for getting rich quick, like lotteries and television or mail ads offering to provide a six-figure income if you respond;
  • some pre-paid funeral plans; there are a few we researched that seem to make sense and are reasonable in cost; be sure to read and understand the plan carefully before you sign on the dotted line
  • reverse mortgages; again, it makes sense for some seniors, but for most of us, it is just a means to sign away the title to our home for pennies on the dollar; read the fine print carefully, and be sure to consult a dependable financial advisor;
  • estate planning seminars; many of these seminars are offered in senior retirement communities by financial planners looking to enrich their own coffers; if you need estate planning services, find a person who is certified to do estate planning, and is recommended by friends and/or relatives; the free lunch offered at seminars is not free.

We’ll stop here in order not to belabor the point. Seniors everywhere need to be cautious about any offer that sounds like it’s too good to be true. It probably is.

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