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helping elderly parents

Helping Your Elderly Parents and Family Members to Manage Their Money

Brink's Money

02 Dec 2021

Having a conversation with your parents about their finances may not be the most comfortable conversation to have. As your parents age, it’s only natural to start having conversations about their health but when you combine that with finances, it can make the situation even more awkward. Regardless of how uncomfortable it can be, these discussions are important to have so you can protect your parents’ well-being and help support them in handling their finances and retirement plans. If you’re unsure about how to approach the subject or how you can help your parents, here are a few ways you can help your elderly parents and family members:

Gather Important Documents

One of the first things you can do to help get you started on getting your parents organized is to gather all important documents. You might find that your parents keep their financial records in one place or you may have to do some digging around. If the documents are not close by and you think your parents worked with an accountant or financial adviser, then be sure to reach out to that person for some help on locating necessary financial information. As you gather these documents, together you can start assembling a “financial map” about accounts, savings, investments, and more so all parties have a better understanding of the financial situation.

Talk About Scams and Fraud

Statistically, senior citizens are more likely than anyone else to fall victim to scammers. The most effective way of protecting yourself from fraud is awareness and this is something you can help your parents with. When it comes to coaching them on scams and fraud, the key is to avoid being intrusive but rather as a counselor. Here are a few tips you can walk them through to keep them safe:

  • If the person calling is posing as a family member, tell them to ask questions they know only that person would know the answer to

  • Have them check with you before sending anyone money

  • Remind them that the government or law enforcement will never ask them for money

  • Scammers might not always ask for cash but they may also ask for gift cards

Review Their Financial Situation

When you take on the responsibility to review your parents’ financial situation, you do so to better assess how to go about supporting them. Income, pension, savings, and Social Security benefits are assets that should be taken into consideration and therefore you should make note of when you create a balance sheet to determine living expenses and what their finances consist of.

Assist Them with Paying Bills

After you have assessed your parents’ financial situation, you can help assist them with paying bills. One helpful banking tool that you use on a regular basis that perhaps your parents don’t utilize is direct deposit. Direct deposit will ensure that their funds are safely loaded into their accounts. While you set them up for direct deposit, you should also consider enrolling them in autopay for any monthly expenses or bills so they don’t have to worry about manually paying bills each pay period.

Consult a Financial Advisor

You already take care of your own finances and now you want to help your parents with theirs. This new responsibility can feel a bit overwhelming considering what you might already have on your plate. As a result, you might consider turning to a financial advisor. A financial advisor can take a more thorough look through your parents’ financial situation and help them understand their own finances better. Additionally, an advisor can assist with communication about financial decisions. Although consulting with an expert will not completely eliminate stress, it can give everyone peace of mind in knowing that there is someone else looking out for your parents’ best interest.

 

Work with Them and Respect Their Decisions

Perhaps the most important tip we can give you is this one: work with your parents and respect their decisions when it comes to their finances and money. If your older parents are managing their money effectively, it’s important that you remain respectful and ask them if they need any help instead of taking the initiative to take over completely. If these conversations go well, then your parents are more likely to appreciate your help and be more willing to take off a few responsibilities. As you start addressing these important matters, make sure your parents feel included and have a continuous sense of control as you help them with money management.

 

Helping your parents manage their money is an important responsibility and one that requires attention, patience, and having a few uncomfortable conversations. Although it may seem a bit overwhelming throughout, luckily for you, there are several resources available that can help give you a starting point. The sooner you discuss their finances with your parents the better and bigger the difference you can make.

 

If you’re looking to help your parents by getting better control of their finances, the Brink’s Money Prepaid Mastercard can give everyone the peace of mind they deserve.

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