Most of the financial plans we make when we’re young have to do with preparing for that golden someday when we no longer have to work. Whether that is a few years from now when you plan on amassing a ten-million-dollar fortune or thirty years from now when you plan on a more traditional retirement, the truth is that we all want to be financially comfortable as we age.
Unfortunately, lots of money isn’t all there is to retirement. As we age, it can become more and more difficult to make sound financial decisions, whether it’s due to health issues or the changing face of the financial world. For many cultures, that’s simply the way things go: there comes a time when children are no longer the ones being supported, and it’s up to them to take care of aging parents when it comes to issues like estate planning and financial investments.
Helping an Aging Parent
Although there are emotional and familial issues that come into play when caring for an aging parent’s finances, it can be an important step in financial security. If bills are going unpaid, investments are being ignored, or financial predators are taking advantage of your parent, you may need to step in before they lose any or all of the nest egg they’ve set aside.
– The first thing you need to do is determine the exact state of your parent’s finances, including both how much they have saved and how much is immediately accessible. You will need to include all their bank accounts, investments, trust fund accounts, and safety deposit boxes, especially if they are located in different financial institutions.
– Documents like wills, living wills, power of attorneys, and insurance papers should be organized and updated according to your parents’ wishes.
– Many parents are willing to grant their children access to their finances by listing them on the account. If you and your parent are comfortable with this arrangement, it can help you to take a more active role in monitoring both their daily and retirement funds.
– Help them to set up and maintain a budget. This is especially important if your parents are living on a fixed income or have substantial medical bills. Depending on your level of involvement and the financial situation, this may include eliminating credit cards, offering a monthly “allowance,” or even bringing Mom or Dad home to live with you.
– Tap into technology. If you can take advantage of automatic deposits, automatic bill paying options, or any other online banking features, you might be able to save some time and effort. Elderly parents who don’t get around as much often forget or don’t have the time to do all of their banking on-site, so it can help if you streamline things for them.
The transition from child to caregiver can be a difficult one – for both you and your parents. One of the best things you can do for everyone involved is find a financial advisor who offers advanced estate planning services. He or she will be able to provide services for the immediate financial needs as well as the long-term estate planning needs that will ensure your parents’ hard-earned money is disbursed according to their wishes.
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