As parents, relatives, and others in your life age, they may become less able to handle their daily lives, especially their finances. If you want to help your loved one protect his or her finances, you need to know what to look for and how to offer help.
Read the Signs
If you spend a lot of time with your senior parents, grandparents, or relatives, MoneyGeek notes that there are signs to look for when they cannot handle their finances. One of the first signs that your loved one needs help is memory issues. People with memory issues may have difficulty remembering when to pay bills or how to access their accounts. Physical problems, like impaired vision, can also make it difficult for the aging population to handle finances alone.
When visiting your loved one, look for unopened mail and strange purchases. Analyze any change in behavior you may notice. These signs should determine the type of help the person needs.
Talk With Your Loved One
Scientific American points out that many adults find talking about finances to be personal. Approach your loved one delicately. You may want to start by talking about your financial planning and the struggles you have with it in your own life. Likewise, you can use the discussion as a jumping-off point to talk about economic plans and how your loved one feels about their current money situation. Millions of adults fall victim to financial scams every day. When talking with your loved one, try to educate them on avoiding different scams. For example, talk about impersonation, tech support, and debt-related scams. Remind them never to give out personal passwords or other information without verifying the source.
Talk to your loved one about how you can help with the bills. Set up automatic bill pay options and analyze their recurring expenses to ensure they can afford their bills every month. They may appreciate you organizing these financial documents.
Take Financial Control
Help your loved one navigate their finances. If you need to sell a business, think about tax strategies. In order to reduce the tax impact, consider selling as an installment sale. If your loved ones own a C company, they may be able to sell stock ownership to their employees. Talk with your loved one about the various options. Find out if they have a succession plan in place. Before you can sell a business, you need a business valuation. A valuation provides an objective perspective and includes all inventory, real estate, and assets.
Similarly, have a long discussion with your loved one if they need to sell their house to downsize or move into an assisted living facility or nursing home. If you have no idea what their home is worth and want a ballpark estimate before contacting a real estate professional, there are online tools that can estimate the property value. However, if you want a clearer picture, contact a local real estate agent.
Lastly, keep in mind that when a senior loved one cannot handle his or her finances, they become a target for those who may exploit or steal. If there are concerns about anyone in your family or your loved one's personal life preying on him or her, you can report it. The best approach is to take over the finances to ensure your loved one's best interests are kept in mind.
Helping a senior with finances can be a sensitive topic. Some seniors may resist the idea, whether it’s talking about money, taking over accounts, or choosing to sell their business or home. But, if you approach gently and have a plan in place, you may can ensure that your loved one does not face a future financial burden.
This blog post was written by James Hall, taken with permission. James Hall is a retired nursing home administrator. Following his retirement, he wanted to find a way to continue helping seniors and make the most of his own golden years. He created Senior Care Fitness to help seniors live their best lives. He regularly shares his knowledge and resources to help seniors not only overcome the downsides of aging, such as chronic pain and other health issues but to thrive throughout this “golden” time."