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Is it time to simplify your assets?

As you get older, it may become increasingly difficult to stay on top of your finances, even if you have considerable resources. There are a number of reasons why finances become more complicated as we age, but all of them point to the same conclusion — it is important to get proper estate planning help before you think you need it. Otherwise, you might lose a significant portion of your assets to simple mistakes that could have been avoided.

For many individuals, keeping track of all the bills that must be paid or maintaining access to various accounts while keeping passwords and security information safe becomes more difficult. This is due in part to the difficulties of aging and the fatigue our brains all experience as we age, even if we do not develop any specific ailment like Alzheimers' or dementia. Even for keen minds, staying on top of a number of recurring bills and financial accounts becomes more difficult with age for many.

Of course, another component of the problem is that as we age, many of us accrue more complicated resources. While you were in your twenties or thirties, you may have only had a simple checking and savings account, and maybe a mortgage and some simple investments. However, by the time a person reaches their sixties, seventies, and beyond, they may have various financial accounts ranging from checking and savings to 401k's, IRA's, various investments, and perhaps multiple pieces of property. Managing all of those resources can become unwieldy and end up costing you unnecessary money when you make some simple mistake.

Regardless of why you may have difficulty staying on top of your personal finances, you can help simplify the issue by creating an effective estate plan to help consolidate your assets in a more manageable place and possibly think about enlisting the help of an administrator to share the weight of day to day money management. Your family, friends, and utility providers will thank you.

Source: Kiplinger, "Managing Your Money in Old Age," Eleanor Laise, April 05, 2017

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