How can you make things easier on them later in life?
The number of people aged 60 and older is growing. By 2050, this demographic will be more than twice as large as it was in 2015. Many of these seniors will face financial challenges as they age whether it’s analyzing their accounts or simply keeping up with technology in being able to access their accounts and protect themselves from fraudsters.
Your parents may be facing such a test. If you sense that they are not quite up to it, then start with a conversation. If you need to have this kind of talk with your parents, it is best to proceed gently, while acknowledging some potential risks that may increase if the status quo continues.
Start by bringing up your own financial matters or investments. Ask your parents for their thoughts on this-or-that topic – an upcoming car purchase, a type of insurance coverage or investment, or their approach to saving or investing when they were your age. Start this conversation while you do something else together, something relaxed or pleasurable. A one-on-one conversation is best, with an informal tone. A formal discussion involving multiple family members might come across like some kind of financial intervention and may not be appreciated.
Alternatively, if you have made a will or created a power of attorney, you can talk about your decision to do so and ask your parent if they have either of these items and more importantly, when were they last reviewed? All too often wills, beneficiary designations and medical directives are outdated and useless. Not only could that lead to a conversation about family wealth, but they might see that as a more important issue and segue into allowing you to understand their wishes and financial affairs.
Helpful and kind suggestions can follow. If your parents are neglecting to open account statements, you can offer help monitoring their accounts by asking to register with the bank or investment custodian, so that you may receive copies of these documents. If you sense bills are past due, you can suggest setting up automated payments, referencing how useful they have been in your own financial life. If you do not live close by and could use some help monitoring these types of things, you may also wish to consider hiring a Daily Money Manager. These are people who will visit your parent’s home to help them open mail, pay bills and bring issues to your attention that could save you time and money in the long run. Start by visiting the website for the Association of Daily Money Managers at https://secure.aadmm.com
There can be resistance to such suggestions, of course. One possible way to counter that resistance is by expressing how much you care about their financial well-being, their wishes, and their quality of life. How would they feel, for example, if a financial error or oversight they made resulted in more income tax or a decline in the value of their accounts?
By treating your parent with love and respect and communicating openly, you can let them know that you are ready to provide the help needed during this time of life. An advisor at Kendall Capital can help guide you through the financial journey with your aging parents, and make sure you are asking them all the right questions.