Approaching the discussion of financial management with the seniors in your life can be a sensitive topic. If you’re hoping to help an elderly family member or friend get a better handle on their monetary commitments, there are several important items to consider. Whether you’re helping a senior straighten out their finances as they transition into assisted living, or you’re simply noticing the elders in your life need to do some fiscal housekeeping, you should always have a plan of action in place.
With age, staying on top of payments can be made even more difficult if the senior(s) in your family tend to be more disorganized. From putting a filing system in place to creating an excel spreadsheet, organization is key when it comes to helping seniors manage their finances. If you’re planning on assisting the elders in your life with their finances, start small by offering to help your loved one give their financial system some structure. Dedicate a time to go through financial documents and bills together, and once you’ve tackled the paperwork, discuss budgeting as well. If an assisted-living arrangement is being considered for the future, it’s important to be financially prepared for this kind of transition.
Timing is perhaps the most sensitive aspect of financial planning with seniors. Explain to your loved ones why they should be prepared for the unexpected, and take the time to discuss their future living situation along with what lies ahead for their expenses. While most seniors have savings set aside for significant transitions, it’s never a bad idea to reevaluate these funds. It might be beneficial to set up a more long term money management plan, and to start assessing areas in which the seniors in your life can save more. Look closely at monthly expenses, and track how much they might need to save over the next few years in order to transition into assisted living, or even to hire a long-term care professional. Now could be a good time to consider helping them refinance their mortgage if they are hoping to put some extra money away in order to prep for unexpected new stages of life.
Though it’s no secret that most seniors are not the most technically savvy, moving towards automated payments might actually be a better option long term. If you’re finding that an elderly family member or friend appears to have multiple overdue or missed payments, or that they’re overpaying for fear of missing a payment, suggest helping them set up auto-pay. Having their bills paid electronically is one less thing for the them to worry about, and one less thing on their list to have to remember each month. Setting up automatic payments will no doubt help your loved one feel even more prepared for any transitions that might lie ahead.