WASHINGTON, DC, July 17 — “The Golden Years are supposed to be carefree, but sometimes the challenges of growing old can be depressing. At worst, they seem downright unfair,” says Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].
Weber cites, as an example, the complications of what used to be the simple task of getting your driver’s license renewed. “It’s a breeze for younger drivers. They can get their new licenses by mail or online and in many states their licenses are good for ten years. Not so for too many older citizens. Many states require in person renewal procedures for older applicants in their 60s and 70s and will only issue renewal licenses for a maximum of five years and a minimum of one to two years. Specific state by state license renewal information is available on the Website Insure.Com.”
And, the AMAC chief notes that more and more states appear to be planning license renewal restrictions on older drivers. As the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) put it: “While older drivers have lower crash rates reported to the police, the likelihood of seniors being involved in a fatal crash goes up after age 70. ”
Meanwhile, notes Weber, seniors seem to be a target of choice not just for scammers but for “legitimate” commercial enterprises. “For example, timeshare predators seem to aggressively target the elderly, using extreme deceptive and exhausting sales practices that coerce customers into signing up for timeshares– a technique that may be particularly effective on the elderly.”
But, she warns, even those timeshares that are purchased willingly can be cause for concern due to maintenance fees, which may seem affordable enough at first but, which can become onerous as the years go on.
As consumer advocate Dave Ramsey describes it: “The average annual maintenance fee is $1,000. But the surprise comes when you find out the fees go up every year, often much faster than the normal inflation rate. The latest numbers say the increase averages around 4% a year. So, in hard numbers, your original $1,000 fee could be $1,477 by year ten—a total increase of around 48%!”
Excessive fees can make timeshare ownership a nightmare, says Weber, particularly if you are an older owner whose resources may be limited. It is one of the key issues targeted for reform by such organizations as The Coalition to Reform Timeshare. The organization says it is actively seeking to impose “a strict code of ethics and transparency” for the industry.