Elders in need of a financial makeover will find some change at the LGBT Health Resource Center’s next “Lunch & Learn” workshop. Karen Sadler of PNC Bank will present money management strategies on Thursday, August 10th from noon to 1:30 pm in the community rooms at Chase Brexton’s Mount Vernon Center (1111 North Charles Street, Baltimore). We asked Franklin McNeil, Jr., vice president and community consultant with PNC and a former Chase Brexton board member for a few financial tips.

What money management difficulties do LGBT elders in particular face?

Believe it or not, most mainstream financial institutions recognize that the definition of a “traditional” household has changed, so don’t be afraid to speak with your banker about adding your same-sex spouse to your account or having both of your names added to the top of your checks. If your financial institution makes you feel uncomfortable, look for another one that doesn’t!

Make sure you have all of the documentation that you need to verify who your spouse is, so that the bank knows that you are now “Mr. and Mr.” and “Ms. and Ms.” etc. The bank isn’t being nosy – they need to know who should have access to your account should you become incapacitated and your spouse needs to handle your affairs.

After that, LGBTQ elders face the same issues as other elders. You should have powers of attorney, wills, and other legal documentation completed in case you are unable to address your financial affairs; you should recognize the warning signs of potential financial abuse; learn how to avoid being tricked and suffering a financial loss; and know where to get help should you be targeted.

What are some common money management issues among elder clients?

They may take many different forms, but the most common ones are someone:

• Selling you something you don’t need

• Selling you something that doesn’t work, is delivered poorly, or not at all

• Stealing valuable possessions while in your home

• Forging signatures to cash your checks

• Using your credit card, bank accounts, money or property without permission

• Getting you to sign a deed, will, or power of attorney through deception or intimidation

• Taking advantage of you while having a live-in caregiver

There are also several forms of scams, such as telephone scams, internet scams, investment scams, and mail scams like “sweepstakes” and other giveaways.

How difficult is it for an older individual to get on the right financial track?

It’s not difficult at all for an elder to get back on track. We all have to manage our finances, especially if we are on a fixed income. Your bank should have some classes and helpful tricks for savings and budgeting. PNC Bank has a Virtual Wallet Account, comprised of three distinct accounts working together as one seamless online money management tool designed to help you spend, save, and grow.

It’s important to gain control of your finances, so they don’t control you. Just as we plan time to exercise and if you are trying to lose weight, we plan our menus and watch our calorie intake, it is important to plan your budgeting by identifying all of your sources of income and tracking your expenses. Do this at the same time each month, so that you are keenly aware of what you have to spend and if there is any disposable income left for extra or unexpected purchases.

What is one easy financial management tip you can offer?

Take the time to track your expenses! Keep a log for at least a month of your typical bills, and remember to account for periodic expenses like car/home insurance or, if you’re a homeowner, any taxes or special maintenance, to see exactly where your money is going. PNC Bank has a pocket-sized Expense Tracker that you can use to capture any time that you put money in the parking meter or go out to eat. You will be astounded by how much money you are spending at your favorite coffee shop or convenience store, especially when you are trying to find money to save, go on vacation or buy a home, etc.

For information and to register for the upcoming Lunch & Learn program, contact lgbt@chasebrexton.org or call 410-837-2050 x1107.

The LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care is to provide LGBTQ individuals and their families with welcoming access to expert health information and resources that will enhance wellness and quality of life. For more information,visit ResourceCenter.lgbt.