The offers keep coming and every time one hits my desk, I wonder if these people who want to lend me money, or help me get long-term care, or sell me an annuity have my best interests at heart.
When I opened the latest piece of mail, I asked the obvious question: “Why did the bank offer me $25,000?”
Maybe it’s because I’m older and maybe it’s because my financial history looks more than okay. But hey, taking any or all of the offers might just ruin my future financial life.
I’m troubled particularly because many of the offers come from, or use the names of, reputable organizations. In three instances, the offers came through a couple of unions that list me as a member.
So if I were a less skeptical person, I might think that the union actually endorsed the idea of my borrowing $25,000 to consolidate my bills. But I look at these offers and toss them in the trash, and I’m glad that I don’t need to rush to borrow.
The long-term care letters also make you pause, because you’re asked to bet that if you pay money now, you’ll need the insurance payout that builds up in your later years.
Long term care may sound like a good idea because Medicare doesn’t pay for what it considers “custodial services.” In other words non-medical help that you might need.
With long-term care insurance you pay a monthly fee and then when you need the insurance it’s supposed to pay for:
- Caregiver Services
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Hospice Care
- Nursing Homes
- Adult Day Services
- Skilled Nursing At Home
- Physical And Speech Therapy At Home
- Help With Bathing and Dressing At Home
But what if it ends up that you don’t need any of those things? Instead, you need money to pay your taxes, or your rent?
And it also turns out that some policies come with rules and regulations that make it tough to collect the money. A New York Times story detailed the nightmare one family experienced trying to collect for assisted living.
So maybe when we think it through, we want to save our money, or invest to pay for future problems in another way.
I’m not saying a consolidation loan is wrong. Or that long-term care insurance doesn’t pay off. Maybe some of the other solicitations are great too.
But I am saying it is wrong for organizations we trust to let companies send us these alluring come-ons without including caveats or warnings that the plans and schemes may not work for everyone and come with significant risk in some cases.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that older adults are “prime targets for financial exploitation,” and calls the financial abuse of seniors an “under the radar epidemic.”
So maybe it’s time to get proactive before it’s too late. Those of us, particularly Baby Boomers, who still have our wits about us, might want kick into activism mode. Why not let the unions, colleges and groups that we belong to know that we don’t like it when they lend their names to these mailings that don’t include the full story and could lead to our exploitation.
Tell us what you think.