Is it Time to Step in?

Aging and help with financial matters

As the baby boomer generation ages so do the parents of the baby boomers. With this aging process there will come a time when a parent needs help. Much of the focus centers on managing things like transportation, mobility, health care, and home maintenance. Harder to spot is the need to help with bill payments and finances. This is because most of us keep this area of our lives separate from our children. So when is it time to step in and help or to ask for help? There is no right answer, but here are some warning signs that help may be needed.

Warning sign 1 Taking low-income jobs. If your parents have been retired for quite some time and then start working once again, why are they doing this? For many it is to stay active, but for others it is a necessity to make ends meet.
Warning sign 2 Selling off items. Valuable items sold at garage sale prices could be a warning sign. It is natural to want to de-clutter ones life through gifts to grand kids, donations, and garage sales. But not by being taken advantage of by an opportunistic purchaser of valued possessions.
Aging and help with financial matters
Warning sign 3 Major life changes. If a spouse passes away or there is a change in living situation, this might signal a need for help. Who pays the bills, coordinates filing taxes, or manages the retirement savings accounts? When these life changes occur, it is probably time to have a discussion with your loved ones.
Warning sign 4 Being fooled by solicitations. Notice what is sent out in the mail. Many direct mail solicitations are convincing and can easily deceive. Do you see responses to requests for money that are unusual? If you are seeing the barriers to these deceptive mail practices breaking down it may be a sign that help is needed.
Warning sign 5 Worry about bills. There are certain bills that are larger than others. If a parent expresses worry about making any of these payments you may need to offer help. Common large bills are property taxes, homeowners insurance, and loan payments.
Warning sign 6 Increased clutter. If the area of the home that serves as the office for paying bills starts to look cluttered, it may mean things are overwhelming. A quick look and offer to assist organizing the area may be a good starting point to see if help is needed.


A word for the retiree

Being aware of your circumstances can be of assistance to your children during this transitional time. Consider identifying a trusted adviser who can help with financial matters when you deem it necessary. By planning now, the transition can be a smooth one.