Helping Aging Parents
As your parents age, they will probably need more help from you. It’s important to consider your ability to provide the help they need, especially if they’re experiencing financial trouble.
Are your parents dealing with debt? Are your parents current on their mortgage payments? Do they have large, unexpected medical bills? According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the average debt amount for families in which the head of the household was age 55 or older was $76,679 just three years ago.
Have you talked to your parents about looking out for and resisting fraud? According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), “Individuals have been contacted by someone pretending to be an SSA employee. The intent of this type of call may be to steal your identity and/or money from your bank accounts.” The Social Security Administration has a hotline for reporting these attempts at fraud. See https://oig.ssa.gov/report-fraud-waste-or-abuse/fraud-waste-and-abuse for more details. In addition to this scam, the National Council on Aging states that older adults have lost billions of dollars to scammers each year. See www.ncoa.org/blog/3-most-popular-scams-targeting-seniors/ for additional information.
If you’ve lost a parent, was he or she in charge of finances for the surviving parent? Many widows or widowers might feel a lot of stress and anxiety keeping track of statements, paying bills, budgeting, and handling other financial matters for the first time.
Regardless of the reasons your parents may be having money problems, there are things you can do to help them. Encourage them to meet with a professional to evaluate their financial situation … someone you trust! Offer to help them reduce spending by reviewing their bank account and credit statements to look for ways to cut back on items such as cable plans, unnecessary memberships, or subscriptions. Downsizing to a smaller home is another option.
If you’ve noticed behavioral or memory changes in one or both of your parents, consider sharing your concerns with their medical professional. Cognitive decline can result in difficulty managing finances and more importantly in safety issues.
Be there for your parents at a time they may need it most.
Written by: Kenneth Price, CFP®, CFA®, ChFC®, CLU®, AEP®
Reprinted with permission from Life in the Ranch, a magazine of N2 Publishing
Advisory services offered through Per Stirling Capital Management, LLC. This material is provided for informational purposes only. Individual advice should be provided by the appropriate tax, legal, financial or accounting professional.
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