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Advise for a senior citizen.
Old 02-22-2011, 12:16 PM   #1
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Elderdude's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Sacramento, Calif
Posts: 210
Advise for a senior citizen.

My wife and I knew fairly early that we could retire on excellent COLA’d government pensions and Social Security, so we neglected, probably in ignorance, to accumulate much in the way of additional savings. What little we do have, resides in 401k’s invested in moderately conservative index fund mixes. I am woefully ignorant of the “who, what, why, how, and whens” of investing. Not complaining, just explaining my lack of knowledge.

My widowed MIL is turning 90 next month. She owns her home; she lives by herself, in a neighborhood she is comfortable in. She receives $20,000 combined annual income from military annuitant and Social Security benefits. She no longer drives. She has Tri-Care which covers almost all her medical needs with no out of pocket expense. She has 4 children, all comfortably retired, living close by, upon who she relies for transportation and shopping needs.

Sometime in the mid 1990’s, she was severely injured in an automobile accident, and subsequently received an insurance settlement. What is left of that award remains in an account with UBS. I do not know the how or why or even what she is invested in. Her oldest son handled this original investment probably using advice from others. She had been receiving payments of $103 a month for many years, sometimes with additional “dividend?” checks thrown in. She had complained to my wife about the UBS checks suddenly stopping, but at age 90, is unable to speak with UBS representatives with comprehension. Nor is she able to engage her son’s attention in this matter.

Because I have been preparing her 1040’s, (using Turbo Tax,) for the last four years, I have access to her UBS statements. Her Dec 2010 statement shows she still has $17,900 in her account. 98.6 % of this is in Putnam High Yield Advantage Fd SBI Class A. The remainder was in Putnam Fund for Growth & Income CL A, (which may have been closed for some reason last month.)

Before I attempt to intercede on her behalf, with her permission, I am hoping FIRE folks can help me out. Is the high yield advantage fund appropriate for an aging senior with few resources? Wouldn’t she be better just moving the money to a bank savings account duplicating the 103 withdrawal herself or could she buy a fixed income annuity? How much does closing down an account likeUBS cost? Any other suggestions, insight, or help would be appreciated.
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