Finances are different after retirement. Weekly paychecks get traded in for monthly Social Security, pension and retirement fund payments. Meanwhile, for those who are traveling or trying out new hobbies, expenses may go from predictable to irregular.
In the face of these financial changes, is it time to switch banks? “When you retire, it’s a good opportunity to reevaluate your financial products and institutions,” says Matt Fellowes, founder and CEO of United Income. Seniors who left their bank accounts on autopilot during their working years now have extra time to consider their options. While not everyone needs a new financial institution after retirement, some could benefit from making a switch.
Senior accounts might not be the answer. Some banks have accounts specifically designed for senior customers. These may waive fees or offer additional interest to older individuals. Avoiding fees can be a boon for those living on a limited income. “One of the biggest wasters of finances is unnecessary fees,” says Will Crosswell, market manager for Ardent Credit Union in Oaks, Pennsylvania. But retirees shouldn’t assume a senior account is automatically a better choice than other banking options. Compare the interest rate and fees to accounts that are offered to customers of all ages.
Look for convenient locations and personalized service. Banking innovations such as online banking and mobile deposits aren’t always helpful to older customers. “A lot of the seniors I work with don’t even know how to use a computer,” says Heidi Friedman, an elder law attorney with the firm Becker & Poliakoff in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rather than technological features, convenient locations are a top priority for many seniors. Those who will be traveling or splitting time between two homes may need to switch to a national institution with numerous locations if they want to do all their banking in a branch.
Credits: Maryalene LaPonsie