Why Elderly Don’t Need ‘Senior’ Checking Accounts
Banks offer different checking accounts to the masses, military, wealthy and students.
So, it’s no surprise that there are also special checking accounts for senior citizens.
Senior checking accounts tend to have easy-to-waive monthly fees or offer more features that cater to the older generations.
Such features include free or discounted checkbooks and safe deposit boxes, since older folks continue to use checks for payment and safe deposit boxes for priceless possessions.
But, despite the perks involved, they’re not necessarily the obvious route just because you’re eligible for one.
- What Banks Offers Senior Checking Accounts
- How to Manage the Finances of Elderly Relatives
- Precautionary Preparation
- Make personal and financial documents easily accessible to trustworthy family members
- Automate income and expenses
- Make sure the ill or elderly relative has the proper insurance coverage
- Propose the establishment of a living will or health care proxy
- When Illness Hits
- Reach out to professionals for advice
- Monitor and safeguard against fraud and theft
What Banks Offers Senior Checking Accounts
TD Bank offers a senior checking account for customers who are at least 60 years old.
The account is similar to the bank’s basic checking account, but the senior checking account earns interest, comes with free standard checks and a safe deposit box.
TD’s basic checking account has a $15 monthly fee that can be waived with a low $100 minimum daily balance.
The senior checking account has a $10 monthly fee but requires a minimum daily balance of $250.
Another bank, M&T Bank, has a checking account for those ages 50 and over, which has a $4.95 monthly fee that can be waived with certain activity, including direct deposit, debit card purchases or minimum balances.
But, the only difference between this account and the bank’s free basic checking account is the ability to earn interest.
If you’re not going to take advantage of the special features of a senior checking account and find that it’s easier to avoid the monthly fee on another checking account, then it would be wiser to avoid the senior checking account.
On the other hand, there are many senior checking accounts that come with no monthly fees, as long as you meet the age requirement.
Since it’s impossible for a senior to incur a monthly fee, you can get a better checking account without worry.
U.S. Bank’s Premium Checking account offers free, unlimited ATM transactions at non-U.S. Bank ATMs, free U.S. Bank checks, discount on safe deposit box rentals and interest.
The two ways to avoid the $12.95 monthly fee are to keep an average balance of $5,000 or be age 65 or greater.
Many community banks and credit unions provide senior checking accounts that have no monthly fees.
Furthermore, online banks are ideal places to find free checking accounts, but the lack of physical branches should be taken into consideration.
How to Manage the Finances of Elderly Relatives
As elderly or ill family members battle health conditions, their finances may not be of top priority in their minds, but their money matters still require attention.
This is the role of the financial caregiver, who carries the burden of managing their finances.
Whether it is a parent, spouse, child, or loved one who is unable to manage his or her own finances, caregivers sacrifice money, time, and effort to ensure the financial well-being of their relatives.
Common responsibilities include bill payments, deposit and investment account management, tax preparation, and insurance filing.
When caring for ill or elderly relatives, it is crucial to have their finances in order prior to the onset of health conditions.
Illness can cause a drastic change in the lifestyle of a relative and their caregivers.
Those who already have a firm grasp on their finances probably already have these preparations in place as they approach their later stages in life.
If ill or elderly relatives have not completed these measures, you, as a financial caregiver, should take the following steps:
Make personal and financial documents easily accessible to trustworthy family members
In the case of an emergency, family members need to know where to retrieve important information such as financial statements, insurance policies, wills, and Social Security, Medicare and pension records.
Automate income and expenses
Opt for direct deposit on paychecks and benefit checks because direct deposit ensures the funds will arrive safely and quickly with little oversight.
Also, consider automatic payments for recurring expenses such as utility bills, mortgage payments and insurance premiums.
Make sure the ill or elderly relative has the proper insurance coverage
Insurance becomes increasingly important for those who may have a constant need for medical attention, as it probably plays the largest role in the ability to pay for long-term care.
It would be wise to consult a trust financial advisor and/or insurance agent for the relative’s specific circumstances.
Propose the establishment of a living will or health care proxy
With a living will, a person can dictate what type of medical care they want or don’t want to receive in the event they face a terminal illness and cannot communicate their wishes.
Health care proxy is an individual designated to make the decisions regarding medical care.
When Illness Hits
Health problems can be difficult to predict, but from a financial standpoint the right preparations could make it somewhat easier for caregivers to deal with these stressful times.
Reach out to professionals for advice
Medical professionals, accountants, lawyers, financial advisers and insurance agents will have more experience dealing with the situation when patients/clients become ill.
Their recommendations and assistance will play a role in medical and financial decisions after a serious health issue.
Monitor and safeguard against fraud and theft
Not everyone has the best intentions.
Many sinister individuals and entities try to take advantage of people who are consumed by their illnesses.
They see it as an opportunity to commit fraud and theft when these people are most vulnerable.
Therefore, caregivers should monitor financial and legal interactions to prevent any type of criminal activity against their loved ones.
Simon Zhen is the senior research analyst for MyBankTracker. He is an expert on consumer banking products, bank innovations, and financial technology.
Simon has contributed and/or been quoted in major publications and outlets including Consumer Reports, American Banker, Yahoo Finance, U.S. News – World Report, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Lifehacker, and AOL.com.