20 Essential Tips for Those 55+

Are you trying to figure out how to navigate the changing financial world into your senior years? Bank of American Fork, Soltis Investment Advisors, Jones Waldo and Tanner LC teamed up recently to present a seminar for retirees and seniors. We have their 20 tips here.

Clark Taylor of Soltis Invesment Advisors started with tips about investing for and during retirement:

1. Everyone will tell you to plan and set goals. The key is to do it on paper.

2. If you need a trust, look for third-party corporate trustee services—they may be available through your employer.

3. Sixty-six percent of failed estates are due to a lack of communication and trust, and 25 percent are due to unprepared heirs. Communicate with and prepare your heirs.

4. Know the risks associated with managing finances in retirement.

5. Look for a fee-only life insurance advisor. Since they don’t sell insurance or work based on incentives or commission, you will get unbiased advice.


Randall Holmgren, a partner at Jones Waldo, emphasized that estate planning largely depends on your circumstances, so be wary of generic answers to your estate-planning questions. Sit down with an estate planner and ask questions about your specific circumstances. Holmgren addressed five topics you should discuss with your estate planner:

1. If you’re still asking yourself what will happen to your assets if you die without a will or trust, start planning! Motivate yourself by asking if you want control over what happens to your assets.

2. Is a will or a trust better for you? Trusts have features that wills don’t, but are more complicated and expensive to set up.

3. If nothing else, you can get a barebones will or trust. They have become so easy to get that Holmgren compares it to going through McDonald’s drive-through.

4. Have a power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney and a living will.

5. Will my heirs have to pay estate tax, inheritance tax or income tax when I die? Currently, if all your assets are worth less than $5 million, your heirs won’t have to pay tax. If your assets are worth more than $5 million, the tax may be 50 percent of anything beyond $5 million.

Jeff Bickel, CPA at Tanner LC, addressed how taxes fit in for retirees.

1. You always have to file a tax return if you have income. Even if you don’t have income, you may be eligible for benefits if you file.

2. Talk to a tax expert about whether or not you should use itemized or standard deductions. Depending on your circumstance, one may be more beneficial than the other.

3. Avoid tax scams: The IRS will never email you.

4. Look into using a health savings account (HSA)—these are more flexible than predecessors.

5. Your Social Security benefits are taxable, especially if you have other income.

Jilenne Gunther from the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services shared the following five tips for protecting your assets from fraud:

1. Only have a joint account with a loving spouse.

2. Limit the access of helpers or agents, perhaps through monitor or read-only account access.

3. Use a limited power of attorney. Instead of naming a general financial power or attorney, use a specific power of attorney over a small, designated account for bills.

4. Don’t deed your home, especially if you are living in it.

5. Get the free book: Navigating Your Rights: The Utah Legal Guide for Those 55 and Over. Download a free electronic copy here or go here to order a print version.

If you’re wondering where to start, the panelists agreed that talking to an investment advisor is first—you should take care of yourself before worrying about your heirs—and bringing in an estate planner and tax expert should quickly follow, and be collaborative. Then, be sure to follow Gunther’s tips to keep those assets safe!

To view upcoming seminars at Bank of American Fork and RSVP, click here.

Content not intended to be legal advice from Bank of American Fork.

Content not intended to be accounting or tax advice from Bank of American Fork.

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