If you’re of retirement age or older, this is the perfect time to sit down and put together a plan to help keep your finances in order, especially if you’re at a place in your life where you find it difficult to manage things on your own.
If you’re the caretaker for or family member of someone in this position, now is the time to start a conversation. You already ask them how they’re feeling and if they’re safe. It’s time to start asking about their financial health, too.
How to Begin
To get started, seek out people that you can trust to go to for help. Friends and family members who are honest and have integrity are the best people to go to for help, and they don’t always have to be the people who live the closest or even blood relatives. The type of person you should rely on for this type of advice is someone who knows you and has your best interests at heart.
The Next Steps
After you figure out who you can rely on, make a roadmap of your finances so that the people you’re turning to for help know your resources and debts if they need to step in. This should include all bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments, and any other forms of income as well as monthly expenses, property taxes, and home, life, and medical insurance premium payments. Ask yourself, if someone had to step in and take over tomorrow, would they be able to do so? Would they know everything they need to know?
If you can, slowly transition financial responsibilities in phases. This process is much easier because it gives the friend or family member time to adjust to the changes while the senior gets to keep some control and maintain a little more independence.
Now Is the Time
Making these plans can be difficult for both sides. Some seniors may be shy about admitting they need help or sharing information this personal. They may fear judgment or losing their independence. Family members and trusted friends are also all trying to cope with the implications of COVID-19 and may not want to impose on their parents.
But this unprecedented time has made everyone a little more aware of their health and finances, and it’s an ideal moment to reach out and ask for or offer help. Seniors may be becoming more aware of their vulnerabilities and be ready to reach out and ask for help. Friends and family who may have already been growing concerned about their elder loved ones may be more motivated to reach out and make sure that everything’s okay.
There’s no time like the present to tackle this difficult subject and it will pay off in the end. Plus, you and your loved ones will have confidence knowing that your financial future is planned for while everyone tries to stay healthy.
Any opinions are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice.