Mother’s Day is coming. Will this be yet another year when you give her the same old, same old? Some flowers, a box of chocolates and call it a day? Why not give her something she can really use this year? Help her get her hands on her free credit score.
While the number of seniors who are Internet savvy is growing, they’re still the group least likely to monitor their credit, let alone monitor it online. Yet they’re also the ones with the most credit history at risk, if they’re not watching their credit report on a regular basis. And identity thieves target seniors.
The concept of a free credit score that you can access online is fairly recent – at least for older folks who probably remember the days of paper credit reports that they had to pay for. If your parents are senior citizens, they may not be comfortable with the idea of using a computer and the Internet to monitor something as important – and private – as their credit history.
But their credit will be an important aspect of their financial lives in retirement. And, with people living longer, chances are good you’ll one day be in charge of your parents’ finances. Helping them take steps now to preserve their credit history can ensure they have as comfortable a retirement as possible – and that your job is as easy as possible when the day arrives that you have to manage things for them.
Talk to your parents about paying down debt, so that they have fewer financial responsibilities – and a better ratio of credit available to credit used – when they retire. Stress the importance of monitoring their credit and all their financial accounts on a regular basis. Familiarize them with the ways in which identity thieves try to scam money out of older folks.
And most importantly, sit Mom and Dad down in front of a PC and show them how to access their free credit score online. They probably worked hard all their lives to ensure they have a credit history they can be proud of. Helping them learn how to keep their credit in good shape will be a gift that keeps on giving long after Mother’s Day is over.