For those of us with aging parents, there may come a time when we need to take a more active role in their financial lives. This can be a challenge. But getting involved proactively can help avoid some significant problems later on. In this episode, we discuss the financial conversations you should have with your parents.
- o:oo Intro
- 0:21 Welcome
- 1:07 Where to start the conversation
- 3:22 Questions to as your parents about money
- 5:17 Losing a spouse creates challenges
- 6:38 Things to do when you notice problems
- 8:32 What can older viewers do to help their kids
- 10:31 Final Thoughts
- 11:51 Outro
Discussing Money With Family
Talking to family and loved ones about money is challenging. But having those discussions can help avoid significant problems in the future. Check out our three-part series: Discussing Money With Family. Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don't miss them.
Part 1: Discussing Money with Aging Parents
"Where is Everything?"
As people get older, their minds don't always work as well as they used to. And in the financial side of things, some of the details and understanding can begin to fade. One of the best places to start—without being too invasive—is to ask, "Where do you keep everything?"
- Where are the statements?
- Where do you bank?
- Who is your financial advisor?
- Where are your legal documents?
- Who is your attorney?
- Who do you want to make decisions for you?
Knowing these details can help you avoid some significant problems later on.
Look for signs...
How much our your parents "in control" of their finances? If you start to notice there are signs of decline in your parents, you may want to start asking some simple questions.
- Are your bills caught up?
- Do you have trouble balancing your checkbook?
- Do you understand what is in your accounts?
- Do you know how much you have in savings?
- Asking questions in a non-invasive manner can help you stay on top of things as time moves forward. It may also reveal a need for additional help.
For many of our aging parents, it was our fathers who handled most of the family finances. And if Dad has declined significantly or has passed away, the burden of taking care of the money can suddenly shift. This can be an intimidating change, especially when there are emotions involved. You may need to work with your parents through this transition until they become comfortable with making those decisions. You may even find that Mom makes better decisions than your Dad!
Taking Charge When You Have To
Getting too involved can cause friction. But there may come a time when you must get involved. If you notice a significant decline in your parent's mental capabilities, be proactive to avoid difficulties. Here are some tips.
- Check their mail - make sure there is no past due notices and that bills are getting paid.
- Set up some of their recurring expenses on auto-pay.
- Go to appointments with them and meet their financial advisor, their attorney, or their insurance agent.
- Get online access to their accounts so you can monitor activity and beware of potential scams.
What Should You Do To Help Your Kids
Let's shift gears a moment. One of these days, you might be an aging parent. What can you do to help your kids?
- Establish Trusted Contacts with the firms you deal with regularly. This allows those professionals to contact your kids and discuss your situation should a problem arise.
- Make a list of the professionals who help you - list your financial advisor, your insurance agent, your bank, your lawyer, and other important people so your kids know who to contact.
- Make sure you have the proper legal documents - a will, durable power of attorney, and health care directives. This will make your children's lives easier at a difficult time.
The best thing you can do is to be proactive. We want to do what we can to help our parents. Being prepared to help and understanding the wishes of our parents is critical in providing that assistance. If you have concerns or need assistance, we are here to help.
Appearing in this Video...
Vince is a financial advisor in our Parkersburg, WV Office.
Michael Seese, CFP®
Mike is a CFP® Professional in Parkersburg, WV.
Neal Watson, CFP®
Neal is a CFP® Pro in Marietta, Ohio.