As your parents get on in years, it’s likely that you may have to help them with more and more tasks. They raised you when you were young and helpless, and now it’s your turn to help them as they progress into their golden years. Whether that’s helping install home safety features, getting their groceries, or helping them sort out their finances will depend on your exact situation and their health.
In today’s post, we’ll cover a few ways that you can help your elderly parents with their finances. If you have the financial ability to help them directly – like buying their groceries or helping pay down their mortgage – that’s great. If not, don’t worry. There are still ways that you can help your parents manage their finances.
Find them a reliable financial planner
First, many retirees can significantly benefit from having professional guidance in managing their retirement funds. It can be a difficult transition for many to move from earning a steady income to living off the somewhat fixed sum of their retirement savings. Hiring a professional may seem like a steep price, but often the cost of not having a professional set of eyes on your finances can be much, much more in the long run. Financial professionals, like those at Cetera and other companies, offer a wide variety of services:
- Retirement allocation
- Investment opportunities
- Long-term planning
- Advising on large purchases
- Estate planning
Basically, whatever your parents need help with financially, a trained professional will likely be able to assist you with assisting them. Be sure that you thoroughly research any financial professional you want to work with, though. All too often, criminals seeking to prey on the elderly and vulnerable set themselves up to look like financial professionals, but actually hope to take advantage of those in need. Read reviews, and research any professional thoroughly before putting your or your parents’ money on the line.
Help create a reliable budget
Retirees transitioning from a steady salary to a likely somewhat diminished fixed retirement income may experience some difficulty adjusting to the new financial situation. As a loving son or daughter, you can help ease this transition in a few ways.
If you can provide direct funds to help your parents, that’s always a welcome and heartfelt gesture – try sending them money electronically using an app like Zelle. Even picking up the tab when you go out to eat can be a meaningful way to decrease their monthly expenses. If this is outside your financial comfort zone, however, you can still help them by sitting down and creating a budget.
Budgeting for those in retirement can be quite different than budgeting for an early-career or mid-career professional. For one thing, the portion that you allocate toward savings might be smaller. Additionally, there may be more necessities that you’ll have to spend money on: things like medical bills, vitamins and medications, and in-home care. Sitting down and helping your parents work through an average month, helping them create a list of planned expenses, and then seeing how much they have left over for leisure is a great way to help your elderly parents with their finances.
Help prepare their estate
Lastly, it’s never a pleasant, thought, but the day will come when your parents will pass their estate on to you and your siblings, if you have any. That means that all the preparations should be made before your parents’ passing, which can help make the transition smoother and stop arguments among siblings before they get ugly.
Here are the steps you should take when helping your parents plan their estate:
- Find a time to discuss this with your parents. It won’t be easy for you, and probably much less so for them, but you’ll be glad you had the difficult conversation.
- Hire a professional to help draw up their will, and be sure everyone agrees on the executor or executrix who will be responsible for allocating the estate. You can use software like DocuSign to help if your siblings live far away.
- Process your emotions. Planning for your parents’ eventual passing is emotionally difficult, and it’s important that everyone works through their emotions together once the process is completed.
Your parents brought you into this world and took care of you; it’s only natural that you should help them with their finances in their golden years.