Another fintech app for millennials? Snooze. Been there, done that and youth only lasts for so long.
Luckily, a handful of fintech companies, and some banks, have already been swooping in to solve older adults’ financial needs via mobile and web-based apps.
Why? We’re living longer. Adults 65 and older will account for 21.7 percent of the population by 2040, up from 15.2 percent in 2016, according to The Administration for Community Living report.
In our golden years, we’re vulnerable to all kinds of financial abuse — many of which goes unreported. As we age, we could also struggle from physical declines that make managing our money extremely challenging. A stroke could make it hard to write a check. Losing our vision could make it hard to see a bank balance.
At the same time, tech is evolving to help us out. So, consider these four digital tools to help older adults manage money, sidestep financial crimes and even earn extra income.
It can be easy to forget about a bill. But forgetting to pay one could also be a matter of life and death.
If the electricity bill doesn’t get paid, the utilities company can turn off the power and a person relying on an oxygen tank could die and, in fact, has. But there are plenty of other bill-related challenges that seniors who want to age at home could face.
“It becomes increasingly difficult to manage the process of bill pay,” says Marci Lobel-Esrig, founder and general counsel of SilverBills.
SilverBills aims to take care of the fragmented process of managing bills for seniors. While the service is online, seniors don’t have to be online to use it. Here’s how it works: After enrolling in SilverBills (which can also occur via the mail), the service pays all of your the bills (most clients have about 10) on your behalf, on time. The funds are deducted from a linked account. As a bonus, you’ll also get notices, such as whether your bills have increased.
Cost: It starts at $75 a month.
After Howard Tischler discovered telemarketers had sold his mother inappropriate products, he resolved to help protect other seniors from financial exploitation.
Now, he’s the co-founder and CEO of EverSafe, a company that offers a detection and alert system designed to get in front of identity theft and other financial crimes.
“What we are doing is trying to protect the financial health of seniors and their families,” Tischler says.
To get that protection, you sign up for EverSafe online and link your various financial accounts to the service. This way, the app can understand your habits so it can send you alerts when it spots something strange among your transactions. Perhaps a flag is raised when you are taking out money at the ATM at 2 a.m. or when it spots a missing pension check, for instance. EverSafe will also send you convenience alerts, such as when a credit card interest rate has changed. “There is a wide variety of alerts,” Tischler says.
Importantly, users can also appoint a trusted adviser, such as an adult child, to receive them.
Cost: The basic plan is $7.49 a month.
Matchmaker, matchmaker: Find me a roommate for my retirement years?
You bet there’s a digital service for that.
Silvernest is a web-based tool specifically designed for baby boomers and empty nesters.
To use, you create a listing for your home. You also share information about yourself and what your roommate preferences are, such as gender. Then, the service will pair up homeowners with potential housemates they can message to find the right fit.
Wendi Burkhardt, Silvernest’s CEO and co-founder, sees the service as a way to put extra bedrooms to use to boost someone’s income and potentially address concerns around companionship. The bigger picture? She hopes her company helps create one more affordable long-term housing solution for folks deciding how they wish to age.
The service is available in all 50 states. What people charge depends on where they’re living. In Denver, for example, the average price for home share is $750. Renters can also snag deals for cheaper rent, say, if the homeowner wants a service, like walking the pet.
Cost: Homeowners pay $49.99 to communicate with potential tenants for 60 days on the platform. Silvernest also offers subscriptions for additional features, such as online rent collection and lease drafting.
Fact: There’s a lot going on in many mobile banking apps and online banking (and we’re not just talking drop-down menus). Other fact: Some people might want a little training on where to go to do what.
So, Capital One offers digital tutorials. The financial institution teamed up with Older Adults Technology, a nonprofit that supports older adults in using technology, and Grovo on a video series designed to show older adults how to deposit checks on mobile devices or set up automatic bill payment, and beyond. The series is called “Ready, Set, Bank” and it’s aimed at training seniors on how to do their digital banking.
It’s not the only bank offering how to demos. Some institutions, like UMB Bank, let people book appointments in their branches to learn about digital features.