Helping Seniors Stay on Their Financial Path
By Chuck Dudley
QUESTION: HOW CAN WE, AS ADULT CHILDREN, HELP OUR SENIOR PARENTS STAY ON TRACK?
According to an article in the USA Today on September 11th, our financial decision-making abilities peak in our 50’s and decline fairly rapidly after age 70………..
Which is why some really smart people fall for magazine subscription scams, ‘grandchildren’ scam artists, and similar things we all know about. The nice girls ‘Veronica’ and ‘Heather’ calling from ‘card services’ a couple of times a week……….
One thing I’ve learned is that Seniors don’t want to give up their independence. And as their children, we should do everything we can to help them keep that independence. It’s about quality of life.
It is important to talk about finances with parents, and to frame the conversation with steps we are taking to protect our own financial future. In that way, it is a joint effort where everyone works for a common goal.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
The author of the article, Liz Weston of NerdWallet, provides some easy and familiar strategies to help Seniors defend their money.
DRAFT POWERS OF ATTORNEY
This is most important and two are needed. A POA for health care decisions and one for financial decisions. Talking about this is healthy for all parties concerned. It makes it easier on the children and provides comfort for the Senior.
CONSOLIDATE AND SIMPLIFY
Pretty simple really. You really don’t need a lot of brokerage accounts or banks to deal with. Pick the one that suits everyone, and consolidate them. It helps with fraud, and makes things easier to control and defend. Do this now!!
STAYING IN TOUCH
Communicate. Fraud agents prey on isolated people. Most of us will do this, but it’s important to be reminded to communicate. A visit, a call, a friend coming by. Any are fine, but just do it.
STAY CURRENT ON LATEST SCAMS
Scammers are very good at what they do. And they are always coming up with new ways to separate people from their money. There’s lots of information out there. Check AARP, or go to StopFraud.gov to check out the current schemes. And educate your Senior to not open emails that are even the least bit suspect.
One last thing from the Senior’s standpoint. Before signs of diminished capacity begin to manifest itself, talk to the family and let them know what you want done. Spell it out now, while you have capacity. It will make things easier and concise for your adult children. This is one of the best gifts you can bestow.
AND A FINAL SUGGESTION
I think I’ve suggested this before, but I’d highly recommend a book for all adult children. It’s called ‘Being Mortal’ by a doctor named Atul Gawande.
This quote from Google Books…….
Atul Gawande examines his experiences as a surgeon, as he confronts the realities of ageing and dying in his patients and in his family, as well as the limits of what he can do. He emerges with a story that crosses the globe and history, exploring questions that range from the curious to the profound.
It’s very powerful and worth the read.
If you really want to make sure you have right ideas for moving forward in a positive manner, we will listen. We’ve been able to help families and businesses learn to use money wisely, and we’d like to help you too. We would be honored to visit with you about how to help you and your business. My number is 501-318-0010, or you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Contact Chuck Dudley at (501) 318-0010 or email@example.com.