Your elderly parents have always been good at managing money, but lately something’s changed. You’ve noticed stacks of unpaid bills on their kitchen table, and they keep getting scammed by financial fraudsters– even your own family members!
You want to help mom and dad protect their retirement nest egg so they can age comfortably in place for many years to come- but aren’t sure what to do. Here are some proven ways to discuss financial matters with aging parents before it’s too late.
Common Financial Challenges for Seniors
People today are living longer than ever before, which can sometimes create financial hardships for seniors on fixed incomes. Other financial struggles that the elderly face include:
- Rising food, rent and healthcare costs
- Financial scammers and identity thieves
- Debt incurred while assisting children and grandchildren
- Complications resulting from reverse mortgages
- Loss of a spouse
- Mismanaging their bank and credit card accounts
Aging in place seniors who eventually find themselves in financial trouble then run the risk of losing their homes and independence as a result.
Asset-Protection Tips for Aging Adults
As their unofficial financial advisor here are some effective ways to discuss financial matters with your aging parents and help them more efficiently manage their finances:
Have the “money talk” with them
Many seniors are hesitant to discuss household finances with their kids. But it is possible when taking the right approach. Based on what you’ve learned, sit down and have a respectful-yet-honest discussion with mom and dad. If necessary, involve your siblings or a financial advisor in the conversation. Let your parents know that you’d like to help them plan-ahead and why.
Create a budget
After your parents have accepted your offer, compile a list of their monthly income from Social Security payments, pensions, IRAs and other sources. What are their total monthly expenses? How much do they have in savings? Once the list is ready it’s time to move forward.
Warn them about scammers
Sadly, seniors lose an estimated $2.6 billion every year to financial frauds, scams and theft. Most go unreported, and in many instances the crimes are committed by family members. Take a few minutes to educate your parents about threats like:
- Solicitations by phone, email or regular mail
- Door-to-door solicitors offering services in exchange for payment
- Sweepstakes scams and fake lottery “checks”
- Dishonest family members or neighbors looking to make a quick buck
Protect financial documents and valuables
It’s also important for your parents to keep their valuables, financial documents and other medical and legal information safely away from prying eyes. Encourage them to place those in a secured location and to provide you with access.
Any no longer needed bank statements, tax returns and other documents with sensitive information need to be shredded so they won’t fall into the wrong hands.
Monitor their bank accounts
Respectfully ask mom and dad if you can become a custodian on their bank accounts so you can look for suspicious activities. If they agree, watch for unusual signs like unexplained charges, multiple cash withdrawals or new lines of credit. Discourage them from hiring any service providers that randomly knock on their door or call without your approval.
Designate a power of attorney
As the aging process moves forward confusion and memory loss due to dementia can occur. Help your parents plan-ahead by asking them to designate you, an attorney or another trusted individual as their legal power of attorney (POA) for both financial and medical decisions. Once all the documents are signed be sure to store them in a safe place.
Senior Home Care- A Wise Investment for Aging Parents
Another smart way to keep your parents independent and their assets protected is by investing in senior home care. At New Wave Home Care, our carefully screened professionals can help maintain your senior’s quality of life so they can continue aging safely and comfortably in place right where they want to be. Our caregivers have perfected a formula that’s centered around compassion and connection, delivered with a personal touch that allows all our clients to experience a degree of joy.
Our highly trained professionals go above and beyond in their dedication to providing care for others, while making a difference in the lives of those we serve. At New Wave Home Care, it’s not just about caregiving. It’s about heart! To learn more now about our affordable home care services, or to set up a FREE initial assessment for a senior in the greater Los Angeles area, please visit us at: www.newwavehomecare.com