It’s inevitable that at some point your parents may need your help paying bills, managing real estate, monitoring insurance, creating a living trust or some other financial piece that you were not helping with before. In some cases a parent will ask for help. In other cases you may have to bring it up first.
Help or Coup?
If you notice that your loved one(s) are having trouble keeping up with their finances, don’t barge in and take over. Your parent(s) are adults with a host of experiences and education behind them. It’s understandable that they might see your involvement as an intrusion.
If you think that your parent(s) may require your help, talk with them about it. Do they think that they need help? If so, what kind of help would they like? The goal is to help your parent(s) in whatever way they might need, not to barge into their lives and make them feel like children.
Some helpful websites:
Medication Donut Hole – If you have Medicare Part D, you may be at risk of falling into the coverage gap, or “doughnut hole.” Follow this four-step tool and save money!
AARP Quicklink – Need financial help for a parent or grandparent, but not sure where to begin?
Social Security Estimator – Find out how much money your parent will be able get from Social Security with this easy calculator.
Medicare – Have questions about Medicare coverage?
National Foundation for Credit Counseling – Need help paying off a parent’s debt?
Federal Trade Commission – What to do when parent(s) are scammed.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Report financial fraud. Get help!
AARP Tax Help – Tax preparation for low income seniors.
Tips for helping a parent with personal finances:
- Make a list of everything that needs to be monitored (primary home, rental property, vehicles, checking and saving accounts, investment accounts, pensions, valuable personal property and any items in a safe deposit box.
- Keep their assets separate from yours.
- Keep clear records of everything that you’re doing.
- Include all stakeholders in the information loop.
- Consider hiring professionals to help. Ex: accountant, financial advisor, insurance agent, etc.
Remember, you’re there to help your parent(s) in whatever way that you can. Let them lead the conversation but pay attention to their behaviors.