We tend to think of helping aging parents in terms of their physical needs, or with doctors’ appointments and cooking, but they are also likely to need some assistance handling their finances. This could include long-term finances, such as estate planning and insurance, and everyday tasks like balancing a checkbook and paying bills. Keep a few pointers in mind before diving in.
TALK FIRST Start the discussion before they need help; don’t wait until Mom or Dad show signs of struggling with finances. If you wait until the bills are overdue and creditors are calling, they may feel too overwhelmed or embarrassed to ask for help. Start discussing their finances early and let them know you intend to assist them when they need a hand.
WORK WITH THEM Create a transition from Mom and Dad working alone on their finances, to working together with them to complete the tasks. This will allow them to stay involved and make decisions for as long as possible.
GET PROFESSIONAL HELP It may be a good idea to call an investment advisor, accountant, banker, or attorney, as needed. Aging parents may be more open to working with a third party on such private matters.
SARA PEAK is a freelance writer with expertise in finance and wealth management. Have a money question? E-mail us at email@example.com.