Everyone needs help from time to time, and the seniors in your life are no different. James Hall, of seniorcarefitness.com, explains that helping your aging relatives manage their finances is a great way to give back and show you care.
Here are some key tips provided by Hall:
Knowing the Signs
Watch out for your loved ones as they get older. Signs of dwindling financial ability should be taken seriously, as a single mistake could mean fiscal ruin. Stacks of mail that have gone unopened and strange charges in their bank statements could be evidence that they're no longer up to the task of managing their own money.
Memory loss is a common issue among seniors. If your loved one is incapable of recall in one aspect of life, it's possible and even likely that they'll soon be missing important payments if they haven't already.
Lending a Hand
It's vital to know when, and to what extent, you should take on your relatives' obligations. Evaluate their need; if they're functional but need assistance with new technology, they can remain independent with a little guidance from a computer-literate helper. If their finances are already a wreck, more drastic action may be necessary.
Beyond simple bill paying and responsible shopping, your loved one should be guarded against or taught about scammers. Studies cited by California Mobility show that the vast majority of online and telephone scam victims are senior citizens, banking on the fact that seniors are often less savvy about current fraud trends. Teaching them common scams and how to avoid them, for instance assuring them that the IRS will never request taxes in the form of gift cards, will make you both far more comfortable with their financial security.
A useful trick for handling your loved ones' money with minimal effort from either party is setting up automated payments. Finding out which services of theirs offer recurring monthly charges will save the hassle of writing frequent checks or logging into online portals in time for due dates. This frees up time for both of you, while giving you peace of mind knowing a few things will be handled without you.
If your loved one owns a business, their slowing financial literacy may mean it's time to move on. When selling a company, be sure to acquire a professional business valuation first. This will take into account all property and assets of the company to help you and the senior you're helping get every cent the business is worth.
Unfortunately, not every financial problem can be solved with welcomed assistance and gentle prodding. If your relative is unwilling or incapable to cooperate with your attempts to assist them, GreatSeniorLiving.com points out that it may be advisable to seek power of attorney over them. This is not an option to be taken lightly, as they'll be sacrificing much of their agency in return for the security you'll provide. Make sure before taking full control of their health and finances that this is the best option for everyone involved.
If your senior loved one can no longer live in their home, they may need to downsize or move to a senior living facility. Before helping them sell their home, you can utilize a home sale proceeds calculator to estimate how much they’ll make from selling.
As our loved ones get older, they start to need our help more and more. They've been there for you, by helping your seniors manage their finances, including selling their home or business, if needed.