A recent article in this newspaper alerted readers to the fact that senior citizens are especially vulnerable to scams. The story listed ways for them to avoid being bilked, including monitoring bank accounts, freezing credit reports and screening fraudulent phone calls.
But if seniors really want to keep their retirement funds lasting as long as they do, here’s my advice:
Don’t have grandkids. Because when it comes to getting their hands on the money you’ve saved for retirement, grandkids could have given lessons to Bernie Madoff.
Grandparenthood is an endless round of being hit up for money to finance school fund raisers, band camps, pee-wee sports team and class trips. Every few weeks I get a message from one or more grandkids saying they’re participating in a fund-raising walk and asking me to pledge a certain amount for every lap they complete. I’m highly suspicious of those events, especially claims of walking 700 laps from kids who wouldn’t get off the couch if it were on fire.
And there’s no foreseeable end to the cash-for-laps thing. Last week we had to pay for a fund raising walk by my step-grandson, who’s 3 years old. The good news is we only have to pay for one lap; on the second lap he had to stop for directions and wound up walking the wrong way, so I’m not paying for that one.
The older they get, the more creative they get. Last year I got a message from an 11-year-old asking for a contribution to help her fifth-grade class send a rocket into space. That was followed by her brother pitching for money to help him and his 12-year-old buddy start a cookie company.
EVEN MORE D.L.: ‘Baby on Board’ buttons may be a sign of the times
Then I got a text from another granddaughter asking me to help finance her senior class trip. To Peru. So I dipped into the funds I’d been saving for my wife and me to drive to Columbus for a weekend at a Hilton Garden Inn and sent $100. A month later the kid transferred to a different school. Which probably will have a senior class trip to Antarctica.
You can’t ignore your grandkids’ requests, of course. If you do, their parents will retaliate by not sending the latest photos of your grandchildren and you won’t have any to show when you get together with other old folks. And, of course, there’s the danger of becoming known as “the cheap grandpa,“ because their other grandpa apparently sends them $1,000 checks for everything.
AND EVEN MORE D.L.: First we’re hacked and then we’re hacked off
Still, I did delete recent the text message from one of my grandkids asking me to buy 10 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to meet a quota.
I’m pretty sure he was scamming me.