Published On: Wed, Jul 4th, 2018

How to Protect Your Retirement Savings from Scams and Frauds

Buyer beware, quick buck artists have been taking advantage of the unwitting for millennia.  While the internet has made it easier to spot frauds, it is also enabled our post-truth world where is increasingly harder to know what is true and what is not.

Scams and Frauds

This is especially true when it comes to planning for retirement.  Let’s face it the pressure is on.  Sure, the stock market has been up, largely, over the past few years.  However, we are all living longer and this means that we need more money than ever before to enjoy retirement.

This pressure to build up a retirement nest egg has proven to ample feeding grounds for the unscrupulous to take advantage of those nearing or in retirement and in many cases, those being ripped off don’t even know what is happening.  As such, here are some ways to protect your retirement savings from scams and frauds.

  • Don’t Be in a Rush

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their money is that they get into a rush.  Maybe it is due to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or maybe it is trying to position investment for long retirement.  Either way, when it comes to money making a move just to make a move is never a good thing.

Why?  Because it often leads parking your money in vehicles which you might not understand. For example, preferred shares.  While these are not exactly ‘exotic’ investments the conditions tied to these investments can be complicated at times and if you don’t really understand them, then how do you know you haven’t been a fraud victim.

Sure, you could hire a preferred stock convertible shares fraud attorney to review your investments – and this might be a good idea if you have some questions.   But should you need to hire an attorney before every investment?

Slow down and don’t be in a rush to play with your money as you could end up losing everything. 

  • Make Sure Your Accounts are Secure

Online accounts might be confusing for some, but they have become the rule rather than the exception these days.  As such, you want to educate yourself on the steps to keep your accounts secure.

Think about it, you wouldn’t walk down the street with your cash and credit cards hanging out of your pocket.  Then why wouldn’t you take the steps needed to secure your online accounts?

Helpful steps include making sure account notices are set up –  especially those to highlight withdrawals or unusual purchases.  You might also want to into any two-step notification processes set up by your bank or investment company.

  • Only Invest Through Credible Companies and Brokers

While this might not have worked out well for everyone who had stock inLehman Brothers, sticking with companies who have good reputations.  Doing so might not mean that you can put your investments on cruise control but it does mean that your money is more likely to be protected as compared to investment houses with little or no reputation.

  • Cash is NOT King

My best friends call me Cash.’  Ok, most grifters might not be quite as aggressive, the fact remains that they like to be paid in cash.  The reason is simple is that it is not easy to track cash and this is why you should insist to pay everyone from service providers to friends and family via your bank’s online payment system – after all your accounts are secure.

The same goes for those who have a pension, as they should choose a monthly payment over a lump sum.  Sure, there is some risk if the pension fund goes broke but getting the monthly payouts ensures that you are not walking around with a massive check.  It also means that you don’t have to manage all the money tied to your pension, just how you spend your monthly checks.

  • Remember What Your Mom Told You About…

Keeping your eggs in one basket.  As such, you don’t want to put all your money in one account.  Instead, diversify your accounts and your investments.  Not only will this protect your money but it will make sure that if there is a problem everything is not at risk.

  • Be Warry of Power of Attorney Agreements

Remember these are legal documents and as such, they should only be signed when it is necessary.  Even then, these documents should have a ‘springing’ clause as it gives you, as the principal, the power to revoke a power of attorney or to limit its application.  In addition, any power of attorney should only be for a specific purpose as this will further limit your potential risk.