As part of the so-called “sandwich generation,” trying to figure out how to help your aging parents manage their finances can be a unique challenge. Not only are you trying to help take care of your own children, but now you also have your mother and father to worry about.
Trying to take over your parents’ finances can be unquestionably stressful. There’s a good chance that they raised you and likely taught you about money management. And now, after all these years, they’re unexpectedly finding themselves turning to you for financial help — and even worse, they might even be resistant to it!
Fortunately, helping your senior parents manage their finances does not have to be an emotionally harrowing ordeal. In many ways, they already have the foundation of good financial planning down; they may just need a little extra assistance with some of the unexpected incidentals.
If you’re looking to help your older parents stay afloat without worrying about them going bankrupt on your watch, then look no further. Here are five handy tips to help you keep a vigilant eye on your parents’ finances without causing unnecessary tears, frustration, and anxiety in either of you.
First and foremost, when taking over your parents’ finances, you need to approach it with a little bit of compassion. It’s important to remember that your parents are precisely that: mature adults who likely already know a thing or two about handling money. After all, they raised you, right?
Instead of coming in with a patronizing or infantilizing tone, instead try to imagine yourself in their shoes. They may be more than a little bit confused, especially if they’re starting to undergo mental changes that may make them more prone to forgetfulness. By approaching it with the right attitude, you can help avoid hurt feelings in the long run.
Know Where They Stand
Once you know how to talk to your parents about your goals of assisting them with their finances, your next step will be to take a closer look at their current budget and income. Before you can start earmarking money for expenses, you first need to know how much they’re making and where it’s all going.
Plan For the Day-to-Day
When you think about your own monthly budget, what comes to mind? You probably think of your mortgage, your car payment, and even your grocery bill. While your parents may not have those same expenses, it’s still important to make sure there’s enough money budgeted for the things they need in their daily and monthly life.
…But Also Plan Ahead
Nobody likes to think that something bad will happen to their beloved parents, but the sad truth is, they’re not going to live forever. Even if they’re healthy now, there could come a time that you may have to have a hard conversation about both long-term care for your parents and even funeral expenses.
Yes, this could be a very uncomfortable conversation to have, but it’s still very important to plan ahead for these things. You also need to make sure you budget enough for professional care for your parents, especially if you (or your siblings) do not feel qualified to take care of them in their advanced years.
Fortunately, there are a number of options you can turn to if you’re looking to bring a senior care provider into your parents’ home. Whether you’re looking for home care agencies in NYC, Tampa, Sacramento — or anywhere across the country — you have your option of warm, kind, and highly trained professionals to help take care of your loved ones.
Remain a Constant Presence
Finally, helping your parents with their budgets is not some one-off thing that you do just once then dust off your hands. Instead, you need to realize that your parents’ finances can change in the future. They may also grow more dependent upon you, as well. Sadly, there are also some people out there who prey upon seniors, so you always need to take the initiative to go over their finances with them.
Ideally, you should plan one day a month to go through their bills and their other expenses with them. Look for anything that may seem wrong or suspicious. You also want to make sure you don’t outright accuse your parents of frivolous spending, either. Remember, it’s their money, and you’re simply there to help them.
Taking care of your parents’ finances can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. Furthermore, there’s a high likelihood that they’ll be grateful for your help, and you can help strengthen your bond with them while doing so. By following these five tips, you can help ensure that the entire process goes smoothly for both yourself and your parents!