If you’re hesitating to talk with your aging parents about finances, consider that this is just one more area where you can love and care for them – and while it’s not the easiest way to provide support, it is crucially important. Here are six finance talks to cover with your parents that will help address everyone’s needs and concerns.
1. Money Management
Anyone looking to provide finance help for seniors or any financial tips will need a thorough understanding of existing assets and debts. That means getting into the nitty gritty with your aging parents. Take note of bank account numbers and amounts, and review bill payments and their status. While getting into the details may be uncomfortable, it’s necessary knowledge if you want to help manage your parents’ finances in the future.
Keep in mind that context is important with all of these questions. Opening up conversations about finances with family goes against learned etiquette for most of us, and it can be as difficult for adult children. Choose the time and place for your talks wisely, always showing respect for everyone’s privacy and dignity.
2. Housing Costs
Housing costs form a large part of regular expenses for most seniors – and where your aging parents live can also carry significant emotional weight. If they are living in the family home, is the mortgage still affordable for them? If they are renting, does the monthly payment fit within their budget? Will a move be required in the near future, whether to ease the financial burden or to improve accessibility and care?
3. Long-Term Care
Especially if your aging parents are living with an existing health issue, you’ll want to discuss whether they have set aside finances for long-term care. It’s even better if you can hold this conversation proactively, before care needs become too real. The most important thing to understand is where your parents want to be if they need a higher level of care, and whether they’re set up financially to cover those expenses. If not, you might look into working with a financial advisor, who will bring a wealth of knowledge on how to help the elderly with their finances.
4. Will & Power of Attorney
Setting up a durable power of attorney – either yourself or someone your parents trust – allows them to get help with key decisions about their finances. Plus, establishing a will can give them peace of mind, since they’ll know the people and things they care about are taken care of.
Any one of us can be vulnerable to fraudulent texts, phone calls, and emails that threaten our finances. Open up a no-judgment conversation with your parents about consumer fraud and offer to review any questionable solicitations they might receive.
6. Funeral Expenses
Check in with your parents to discuss their plans for a funeral and how the expenses will be handled. If they’re planning for a burial, where will it be? Will there be a gravestone or an obituary? With such a sensitive topic, keep in mind the feelings and emotions involved and take care to approach it sensitively.
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