Special Feature

Special Report on Retirement 2017

In this special feature: keeping clients calm; downsizing the family home; getting the most from spousal RRSPs and much more from the Mid-November 2017 issue of Investment Executive.

By Danny Bradbury | Mid-November 2017

Technology can help older clients manage both long-term assets and daily finances. But you can expect many of these clients won't be up to speed with their options, which can seem daunting.

Making things easier is key because simplifying finances is a top priority for retirees. An income that previously was from a single source may suddenly come from a variety of places, such as annuities, pensions and other investments. This can make budgeting for the future more difficult. In addition, asset-allocation strategies may mean that previously static investments will change and become difficult to keep track of.

- Money-management apps. These apps can help to pull all the information together in an easily digestible, graphical format. Tablet-based apps often are better for seniors, many of whom began to use tech later in life and may not be confident in using complex products.

For example, Mint (www.mint.com) is a benchmark in money-management software. Available as a web app on Android or iOS, Mint pulls in accounts from all major Canadian banks, including investment portfolios.

Another way to simplify finances is to use bucket accounts to allocate money for different purposes. Alongside daily living expenses, seniors may have an account for emergencies, while another account could be used for short-term goals. Online banking apps often let customers set up and name savings accounts online with no extra fees. Introducing your older clients to this feature can help them immensely.

- Memory tips. Impending retirement is the perfect time to help senior clients fight another potential downside of old age: forgetfulness. Managing regular money transfers and bill payments can be difficult if memory is less reliable. Explain to these clients how automated payments use pre-authorized transactions, which can be set up directly from most online banking interfaces.

For those clients who like to retain manual control, consider reminder apps. Mint allows users to set up automated bill reminders and offers shortcuts for online payments. Alternatively, Canada Post's ePost service (www.epost.ca) allows people to have bills delivered electronically and automatically to an online, encrypted inbox that can be set up to date notifications and shortcuts for online bill payments.

- Fighting fraud. Having bills delivered electronically to a secure inbox is one way to safeguard seniors against another common problem: financial abuse and fraud. The greater the financial 'exhaust' that these clients leave around, the more they're likely to suffer financial abuse.

Identity theft threatens everyone, but seniors are more at risk than many. Along with stealing mail, scammers also can target seniors with telemarketing calls, fraudulent junk-mail offers and online phishing. Advise your clients about identity theft protection options. One Canada-specific solution is Identity Guard (www.identityguard.ca), which registers users and charges $18 a month to monitor credit scores and deliver alerts on potential identity theft events.

In addition, make sure your senior clients are aware of online security options, including password managers, such as LastPass (www.lastpass.com), that can generate and store strong passwords. No writing down passwords in a book or using weak, easily guessed alternatives.

Better still, point clients toward modern tablet or smartphones that include biometric authentication. Fingerprint readers are the most common today, although the iPhone X features facial recognition as well. On some Windows 10 devices, Windows Hello features fingerprint scanning or facial recognition.

- Decluttering. One way to reduce potential fraud is to get rid of documents a scammer can exploit. Scanning, then shredding documents helps to gather everything safely in one place. Recommend a receipt-management app to help clients achieve this. A good one is Neat from Neat Co. (www.neat.com) because it scans documents using a mobile app or the firm's desktop scanner.

Neat can store documents locally or in the cloud, giving seniors confidence that their documents will be safe even if a local device fails. You also can show your clients how their online mobile banking app can digitize and deposit cheques.

Also show seniors virtual wallet apps that allow users to consolidate loyalty and other cards directly on a smartphone, so clients need only one device when they leave the house. Apple's iOS Wallet app downloads an app from a participating retailer for every loyalty card a client wants to add and then sign in using the phone. Alternatives include Stocard (www.stocardapp.com), which features support for Android, iPhone and the Apple Watch.

- Saving tools. Many older clients will find themselves on a more restricted budget and will be looking for savings opportunities. Mint offers budgeting tools that link directly to bank accounts to help keep track of spending. Mint also offers suggestions about how to consolidate and save money based on the client's financial transactions.

An alternative app with a budget-only focus is Wally (www.wally.me), which features an integrated receipt scanner and uses location services to advise where clients are spending and categorize those expenditures.

For more privacy-minded clients who don't want a cloud-based service, Fudget (www.fudget.com) enables them to set and track budgets automatically on their devices. An advantage of this app, which works on iOS and Android, is that it is far simpler than other apps such as Mint.

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