So what are the best ways to help manage aging parents’ finances, you ask.
One of the most difficult aspects of being a caregiver to aging parents is managing their finances.
Money is a sensitive topic for seniors
For elderly parents, financial security is one of the most important priorities to living a comfortable life in their sunset years.
Intervening with aging parents when they are no longer capable of managing their money can be a challenge.
The signs that they need help may be due to health issues, and convincing them to accept assistance can be difficult.
You notice that your parents are dropping the ball and becoming forgetful about paying their regular bills.
Your parents are starting to struggle with managing the financial responsibilities that they once carried out easily.
This may be due to a decline in cognitive function on early onset dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
In some cases, it may be making unwise purchases or you are concerned that they are more susceptible to online banking fraud and scams.
Many seniors rely on the internet to do their banking and shopping, which makes them vulnerable to online fraud.
This concern is well founded as older adults are often targeted by scammers.
Seniors are more likely to fall for schemes that sound too good to be true.
They may also be less likely to report a scam because they feel embarrassed or ashamed.
Tell me the best way of helping seniors with finances
The first step is to talk to your parents about their finances.
Offer to help and see if they need any assistance or guidance getting all their bills paid.
They may not even realize that they are having trouble managing their money.
By talking openly and honestly about their financial matters, adult children can learn more about their aging parents’ financial position.
If your parents are willing to accept help you can take over their finances for them.
This can include paying bills, tracking expenses, and making investments.
You may also want to consider hiring a financial advisor to help you manage your parents’ money.
If your parents are not willing to accept help, you can still offer suggestions and advice.
You can monitor their spending and remind them when bills are due.
You can also offer to pay bills for them or put them on a budget.
In some cases, adult children who provide support to their aging parents might be eligible for various tax benefits.
Ultimately, staying aware of one’s parent’s financial situation is an essential part of being a good caregiver.
7 Best ways to helping seniors manage their finances
1. Locate essential legal documents
This is the first step in helping to ensure that the parents’ finances are taken care of in a responsible and organized manner.
Create a file folder or binder where you can store all financial information and legal paperwork to make it easy to locate.
Some of the most important documents that caregivers should locate include:
Wills and estate planning documents
It can help them plan for the future.
When your parents pass away, you will need to know where to find their wills and other estate planning documents.
Bank statements and other financial account information
If you need to pay bills, financial documents such as bank statements are needed to ensure payments are being made from the correct accounts.
Information on any life insurance policies or retirement accounts
You will know to contact their insurance agent about their financial accounts and other assets.
Proof of any income or assets they may have
If you need to apply for government benefits on behalf of your parents, you can use their income and asset information to prove that they qualify.
2. Create a budget and track expenses
Sensible budgeting for expenses and tracking spending is essential for financial success.
A budget should factor in all monthly bills, such as utilities, groceries and loan payments.
It’s also important to account for unexpected costs that may arise during the course of a month.
Your elderly parents require health care, budgeting to cover their needs is also essential.
Making sure their bills are paid on time not only avoids costly late fees but also helps to maintain a good credit rating.
By staying on top of your elderly parents’ finances you help them avoid financial stress in the long run.
3. Set up automatic payments for bills that can be easily forgotten
When it comes to managing the finances of elderly parents or other loved ones, one of the most important tasks is paying regular bills.
Unfortunately, some of those bills can be easy to forget about.
To ensure that payments are made on time, it can be beneficial to set up automatic payments for those types of bills.
This way, the monthly costs will be taken care of automatically without having to worry about remembering to write a check or log into an account.
It may still be necessary to review credit card statements and payment records.
However, setting up automatic payments will manage predictable bills much simpler and less stressful.
Doing so also ensures that your loved ones have one less thing to worry about.
This allows them more time and energy to spend on things they enjoy.
Before setting up auto-payments, double-check that all arrangements are in order.
This way you’re responsibly managing your parent’s finances.
With this step out of the way, you’ll know that your loved ones are in good hands.
4. Help your parents file their taxes each year
Filing tax returns is an important part of managing finances.
Yet for elderly parents, it can be a daunting task.
Every tax-paying adult has tax obligations.
It is important to make sure that your parents are meeting all of their tax requirements each year.
You may need to help them with understanding their tax situation and declaring any income streams from investments, pensions or other circumstances.
It’s also a good idea to provide them with tax-related financial advice when needed.
This ensures they are taking advantage of available tax breaks.
Being familiar with their financial position and understand what forms need to be filled out and the information required makes filing taxes less stressful for your parents.
Overall, helping your parents file taxes each year shows that you care.
It will ensure that they adhere to their tax obligations in full compliance with the law.
5. Review their investment portfolio and make changes as needed
Managing the investments of elderly parents can be a daunting and complex task, but it’s essential for their financial well-being.
A regular review of their portfolio helps ensure that their assets and income are optimized for the years ahead.
When managing their portfolio, explore opportunities to earn dividends.
This may provide additional income over a savings account.
Consider developing an income stream through a balanced mix of strategic stocks, bonds and money market accounts.
Another helpful strategy is to create a safe saving plan that takes into account inflation and volatile markets.
By providing expertise, planning and managing investments you will help them stay on track with their financial goals.
Don’t forget to periodically review and update the portfolio as needed to maintain its efficacy in the future.
With the right guidance and investment strategies, managing investments for elderly parents don’t have to be intimidating.
Instead, it can provide greater long-term security for both you and your parents.
6. Manage their debt – pay off high interest debts first and work on a plan to get rid of debt altogether
Debt can be overwhelming, and paying it off can feel like an exercise in futility.
If you are paying off aging parents’ debts, make sure you are communicating with them about what they owe.
This will ensure that all bills are tracked and paid off in a timely fashion.
It also helps establish a budget which parties remain committed.
Paying off debt is an important step toward taking control of their finances and achieving financial freedom.
One of the best strategies for managing debt is paying off high interest debts first.
This reduces the amount of money going out each month.
It frees up cash for other expenses and reduces the total cost of paying off all debts.
Working on a plan to get rid of all debt one loan or credit card at a time is a sensible way to stay disciplined and motivated towards their goal.
7. Help connect them with resources like estate planning attorneys or financial planners
An estate planning attorney can help parents create wills and other estate planning documents.
This will ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes.
It can help prevent family disagreements after they pass away.
Financial planners can also provide much needed guidance when it comes to budgeting, investing, and other money-related matters.
By connecting parents with an elder law attorney and financial adviser, you can help them feel more confident and secure when it comes to their financial well-being.
Having this talk with your parents may not be easy, but it is important.
By getting an understanding of their finances and helping them file important financial documents in an organized way, you can make a big difference in their lives.
Set up automatic payments for bills, help with taxes, review investments, and manage debt.
This way they have enough money to enjoy their retirement years stress-free.
It’s never too late to start managing finances better – speak to elderly parents now to help them out.
How to protect your aging parents from online fraud-4 bonus tips
1. Stay informed about the latest scams targeting older adults
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes a list of the most common scams targeting seniors every year.
It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these schemes.
One popular scam is the “grandparent scam,” in which scammers pose as a relative in distress in order to extract money from the victim.
Other scams include fraudulent sweepstakes and lotteries, “Ponzi” schemes.
Here investors are promised high returns for investing in fake businesses, and identity theft.
2. Talk to your parents about how to spot scams
Educate your elderly parents about how to spot a scam.
Some common warning signs include unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for personal information.
Others make offers that seem too good to be true, requests for money upfront, and unexpected charges on credit card bills.
If your parents are unsure about an offer they receive, they should always consult with you or another trusted family member before taking any action.
3. Help set up strong passwords and protect their computer security
Help them set up strong passwords and protect their computer security.
This will ensure they only visit trusted websites and only download files from reputable sources.
You can also install anti-virus software on their computer and create rules about:
- websites they can visit
- what types of files they can download
4. Look out for red flags
Red flags indicating that your parent may have been scammed:
- as sudden financial difficulties
- large withdrawals from bank accounts
- unexplained charges on credit cards.
Please contact your local police department or elder abuse hotline immediately for advice on how to proceed.