As your parents advance in age, there may come a time when your help is needed in assisting one or both of them in managing their finances. Poor health, difficulty getting around, and the death of a spouse are just some of the life-altering challenges that would make it difficult to keep finances in order. If your parents could use your help, it’s time to take all of the financial advice they passed on to you once upon a time and put it to good use. Not sure where to start? Gathered for you here are some tips and suggestions for helping your aging parents manage their money.
Come Up With a Plan
If your parents have asked you for help with their finances, the first thing you should do is sit down with them and come up with a money management plan together. If your parents are unable to ask for help and you know it’s needed, you might want to consider gathering other close family members together, siblings for example, to discuss your parents’ finances and design a plan that everyone feels comfortable with. Failure to communicate with your parents or other family members that are closely involved with them can cause hard feelings and arguments down the road, so try to avoid any negative scenarios with open and honest communication when it comes to money.
Gather and Organize Important Information
After you’ve come up with a game plan, gather together all of the information you’ll need to monitor your parents’ finances so that you’ll be able to make deposits, pay bills, and keep tabs on their accounts. You should have your parents’ social security numbers, account numbers to all checking, savings, and investment accounts, and a comprehensive list of your parents’ assets and debts. You will also need the contact information necessary for making payments and an idea of monthly expenses that need to be paid such as utilities, insurance premiums, groceries, and anything else your parents need budgeted in.
Add Your Name on Accounts
If you’re going to be helping your parents with their finances, it’s important that you have your name added to all of their accounts so that you can make executive decisions when or if they aren’t able to so themselves. Don’t just add your name to things like checking, savings, or investment accounts–add it to utility accounts, too. If your name isn’t on their accounts, you’ll most likely run into some big hassles if you ever need to make any changes or handle financial transactions.
Set Up Direct Deposit
Whenever possible, set up direct deposit for any income your parents receive. By doing so you’ll eliminate the need for them to go to the bank every time they need to deposit a check, and this can be especially helpful if they have a hard time getting around due to poor health or limited mobility. It will also save you from making frequent trips to the bank for them.
Utilize Online Banking and Bill-Pay Services
Many elderly people are computer savvy these days, but if your parents cringe at the thought of using a computer, teach them how to use it if they’re able or willing to learn. Once they see how easy it is to view accounts or pay bills online, they’ll wish you’d taught them sooner.
Find Ways to Help Them Save
The final years of your parents’ lives shouldn’t be spent worrying about money. If your parents are struggling for any reason to make ends meet, try and help them come up with some solutions that will ease some of the financial burdens they have weighing upon them. Maybe your mom or dad requires a lot of care due to an injury, poor health or a declining soundness of mind. Health care, whether it’s in-home or at a medical facility, is expensive–and before you know it, it can drain a bank account dry. If one of your parents requires care and simply can’t afford it, consider providing the care yourself if at all possible. When that’s not a viable option, ask other family members if they can step in–if you work together, you might be able to provide the care needed without hiring outside help. Other ways you can help your parents save include clipping coupons, making changes to the budget, and seeking assistance from outside resources that they are eligible to receive.
When it comes to helping your parents manage their money keep them involved as much as possible. Listen to their needs and concerns and above all else, be respectful. Helping them with their finances will give you the peace of mind that comes along with knowing your parents’ money is in good hands.
Guest post from Finley Crest. Finley writes about senior care for SeniorCare.net.