White older couple smiling chatting with a professional woman financial advisor.

Navigating Your Parents’ Finances: 8 Ways to Assist Them

Your parents have put much effort into saving money and ensuring a good future. However, as they grow older, managing money alone can become tricky. But don’t worry, that’s where you step in. It’s your turn to take on the responsibility of guiding them through these financial matters so they can continue to feel secure and comfortable.

If you’re not sure how to start, here are eight simple steps you can follow to assist your parents with their finances:

  1. Start the Conversation
    Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but it’s an essential first step. Set aside time to converse honestly with your parents about their finances. Ask about their income, expenses, savings, and debts. This conversation will provide valuable insights into their financial requirements, forming the foundation for a tailored financial strategy that suits your parents’ needs. If needed, consider involving a financial planner for guidance and support.
  2. Make a Budget
    Help your parents create a budget to track their monthly income and expenses. List all sources of income, such as pensions or social security, and all regular expenses, like rent, utilities, groceries, and medical costs. By forming a budget, you’ll aid in preventing overspending and identifying areas where they could cut back, ensuring a balanced financial approach.
  3. Organize Financial Documents
    Gather essential financial documents like bank statements, insurance policies, wills, and medical records. Arrange them in a secure and easily reachable location. This not only simplifies your role in aiding their financial management but also positions you to assist with any paperwork that may come up. These documents can be beneficial, especially during emergencies or when making important financial decisions.
  4. Set Up Automatic Bill Payments
    Help your parents establish automatic payments for essential expenses like utilities, rent or mortgage, insurance premiums, and other recurring costs. This practical approach eliminates the concern of missing due dates and grants them peace of mind regarding timely payments. Ensure that the designated accounts have sufficient funds to cover these automatic transactions, and periodically review the transactions to ensure accuracy.
  5. Monitor and Review Accounts
    Consistently review your parents’ bank and credit card statements to ensure accuracy. Scan for any unexpected or unauthorized transactions that might signal a problem. By examining their accounts jointly, you’ll safeguard their financial well-being and promptly identify any irregularities. If you notice any discrepancies, address them promptly by contacting the respective institutions.
  6. Plan for the Future
    Discuss long-term financial plans with your parents. Encourage them to think about their retirement goals and any major expenses they might have, like healthcare or home repairs. In addition, explore their desires and guide them in crafting or revising their will, ensuring their wishes are documented and understood.
  7. Consider Power of Attorney
    Power of Attorney is a legal arrangement granting you the authority to make financial choices for your parents if they cannot do so themselves, especially in declining health. This precautionary step might become essential as your parents’ well-being changes. Seek guidance from a legal expert to ensure proper setup of the Power of Attorney, ensuring their interests and wishes are safeguarded.
  8. Seek Professional Advice
    Should managing your parents’ finances become intricate, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. Engage a financial advisor or an elder law attorney who specializes in addressing the unique needs of older individuals. Their expertise can be customized to your parent’s specific circumstances, aiding retirement planning, estate management, and legal considerations.

Managing your parents’ money doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow these eight easy steps, and you can help your parents with their finances as they get older. Remember, your parents have worked hard to handle their money all their lives. If you approach this change with care, kindness, and talking openly, it’ll be easier for everyone. Taking care of this can be an excellent way to show you care and ensure your parents are happy and safe as they age.