At some point, your elderly relatives might reach a point at which they are incapable of keeping up with their financial matters, including paying their bills, managing their retirement income and Social Security and budgeting their expenses. If you decide to take on the responsibility of assisting them in these matters, it’s important you approach the issue with care—many elderly people are highly resistant to ceding control of personal matters like financial issues, so you should make it a partnership as much as possible.
With this in mind, here are some tips for helping seniors manage their finances:
- Stay in touch regularly: When you check in, it doesn’t always have to be about financial matters. In fact, it shouldn’t. Keeping in touch helps you maintain a good relationship, which will, in turn, make a partnership about financial issues come much more naturally. Whenever you feel it’s appropriate, bring up financial situations the two of you should discuss together.
- Work on budgeting together: If you’re at all concerned about your loved one’s spending habits, you should work with them to create a budget. Having clear goals and guidelines about how much they can spend in each month will help them keep spending under control, and allowing them to work with you on this budget still gives them an element of control over their financial situation. If needed, figure out if there are any areas where you can cut down on spending.
- Get financial power of attorney: If you need to take a more active role in your loved one’s financial matters, it can be a good idea to obtain financial power of attorney. Even if you don’t have to use the powers granted to you as an agent initially, it’s a good step for your loved one to take to protect their assets in the event they become fully incapable of handling their own matters due to declining health.
- Make financial security a priority: Seniors are the most susceptible population to financial scams, which unfortunately makes them a big target for would-be scammers. It’s important to discuss common financial scams with your loved one. You should also have discussions about online security, including what phishing emails look like, how they can better manage and protect online accounts and how they should manage anything with sensitive information on it.
- Create a bill inventory: You should make sure you have a full, accurate list of all the bills your loved one is responsible for paying, including the frequency with which those bills are paid and where/how payments are delivered. Set up automatic bill payments if possible.
Taking on a loved one’s financial management can be stressful at first, but there are ways you can stay on top of their financial tasks to protect their assets and relieve them of the burden of having to do it all themselves. For more information, contact us at Baker Law Group, P.C.