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Avoid the fees that can be an obstacle for financial planning

September 17, 2013

There are many different factors that can come into play when calculating the cost of living in retirement. Everything from health care expenses to real estate has to be considered, but one thing that many seniors may not pay attention to are the credit and banking fees they encounter.

While it may not be as substantial as something like the expenses associated with moving, necessary fees can certainly hamstring plans for an active retirement. However, there are a number of ways to get around some of the most common fees associated with credit and banking, according to AARP. 

Look out for overdrafts
Overdraft fees can be particularly annoying, if not detrimental, to one's financial security. Even if it's something as harmless as withdrawing $5 too much from the ATM, it can result in a fee of around $35. Some banks offer a service that makes sure there's always enough money in your account so that overdraft fees are not something you need to be concerned with. AARP notes that some other banks will decline transactions when there is not enough funds in a particular account, as long as you request the service.

Free credit report
Being familiar with your credit score is of the utmost importance, especially for seniors who are planning on relocating or making any other significant purchases. However, you should never have to pay for a credit report, according to AARP. Federal law mandates that every American adult is entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Seniors can visit to get their score.

Do you need help?
A financial advisor can be a big help to those who need some guidance, but if you're deciding whether you need one, it's important to take a few things into consideration before spending the money on professional assistance, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation notes. Perhaps most of all, seniors considering looking into professional help for managing their money should be sure to do a considerable amount of research. 

"Before you follow the advice of a supposed 'expert' who claims to have special credentials for advising seniors, research what that title may or may not mean and the advisor's background," said FDIC Community Affairs Specialist Ron Jauregui.