A great deal of people worry about the ability of their aging parents and other loved ones to properly handle their financial affairs. The numbers prove that this is a valid concern. Anywhere from 5-30% of senior Americans need assistance when it comes to managing and spending their money. This can be due to mental, physical, and visual impairments, loss of a spouse who handled all of the finances, and an increased vulnerability to scammers. When senior citizens cannot handle their daily finances, or become far more susceptible to financial abuse, the end results tend to be severe.
For example, elderly people that forget to pay their bills could lose their homes, risk having their utilities shut off, and ruin their credit. Seniors that are victims of fraud can be cheated out of large sums of money that they depend on and live off of in their retirement years. The good news is that there are some easy to follow methods that you can utilize in order to protect the seniors in your life. So without further ado, here are the top three ways to help seniors manage their finances.
Start By Assessing The Situation
The first thing you need to do in order to help your elderly parent or loved one manage their finances is to determine if they actually need any help, and if so how much help they need? Begin the process by having a conversation with your elderly loved one. According to Caring Advisor, some senior citizens will freely admit that they need help managing their finances, others will resist. If your loved one happens to resist your intervention, and you see signs that your assistance is needed, it is time to conduct some investigating. For example, talk to your loved ones, friends, neighbors, and doctors to gauge how they are doing mentally.
If they have seen signs of increasing forgetfulness and or confusion, it is time for you to start helping them manage their finances. If you see bills scattered around, piles of paper, and unopened mail around their home, it is time for you to start helping them manage their finances. If you find anything unusual as you go through your elderly loved ones bank statements, checkbook, or credit card statements, it is time to start helping them manage their finances. You should also ask them to explain any payments to people that are unknown to you, or that seem out of the ordinary.
Determine What Is Lacking And How Much Help They Need
After you have fully assessed the situation, you may very well find that your elderly loves ones finances are in order. That being stated, if you discover that trouble is either brewing or is in full steam ahead mode, than your next step is to determine exactly what is lacking, and how much help they need. Some elderly people need someone to handle each and every aspect of their finances, while others only need help in specific areas. It is important to attempt to pinpoint where the difficulties lie, and then provide your help accordingly.
For example, your elderly love one may be able to handle paying the monthly bills on their own, but can no longer make sound investment decisions. If that is the case, you should only provide help with investments and have them continue to pay their own bills. If your elderly loved one simply cannot write because they have arthritis in their fingers, help them set up an automatic payment systems for bills, and or write the checks and help them sign documents. If your elderly loved one have issues managing their spending, simply provide them with a monthly allowance so that they can do their own shopping and pay their own bills.
Take Stock In Their Financial Affairs
If your elder loved one has lost track of important documents, has failed to pay a few bills on time, or is unaware of particular debts, investments, or income, you need to take stock in their financial affairs. Begin the process by identifying their sources of income, bank accounts, and investments. For example, sort out their social security benefits, pension funds, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement funds, and other investment accounts. Gather all of the information you can regarding their mortgage, automobile loans, and credit card debt. This will be your basis point for calculating your loved one’s monthly and annual expenses. If you happen to discover that your loved one’s expenses are greater than their income, take immediate action to try to rectify the situation.