Do Your Parents need a Financial Checkup?
Very frequently I hear children telling their aging parents that they need to pay their own bills to keep their mind sharp. Yet, even when their memory starts to fail, they still let them continue managing their own finances. I have some comments on this:
- Many times I have asked older clients if they enjoyed paying their bills, and they almost always say “no”. Then, when I ask if they would like someone else to pay their bills for them, they almost always say “yes”. It is ok to let them “retire” from that responsibility if it will make their lives more enjoyable in their remaining years.
- If your parent’s memory is failing, take time to look through their mail or their desk where they pay bills for signs that they are not paying their bills on time. If possible, look through their bank statements to see if they are writing multiple checks for the same bills, and if they are writing multiple checks to the same charity. Unfortunately, there are groups that take advantage of seniors.
- Encourage your parents to add you to their bank accounts, so you can go online and monitor their spending.
- Review their insurances, especially car/home insurance, to make sure they are not over-insured or paying too much. Many of these insurances should be shopped around periodically.
- Seniors, especially women, get taken advantage of on car and home repairs too. Be willing to get involved when they need repairs and talk to the mechanic or contractor so they know someone is watching what they do.
These are just a few things you can do to help your parents. Our parents watched out for us for many years, and there comes a time when we have to watch out for them. It’s a privilege, not a burden, in my opinion.