The management of finances is critical at every part of our adult lives. With each new season, we must learn to budget, save and spend in responsible ways to ensure all of our needs are met and that we are planning for the future. As an aging adult, financial matters can become more complicated with retirement and a fixed income, and the possibility of mental limitations that create a whole new set of challenges surrounding financial matters.
The good news is there is much help available for seniors and financial planning/managing. You just need to know where to look and have help to plan ahead! Here are our top five tips for senior adults who need assistance managing their finances.
- Have a clear understanding of your financial situation.
To start, you must give all of your financial matters a fresh look. This includes everything from income, assets, and investments, to expenses and debt. It’s important to have a clear picture before you can properly move forward with planning out your finances long-term. Also, this gives you the opportunity to audit any expenses that could be eliminated or reduced. You will never regret the regular review of your finances – and the money it can save you in doing so.
- Automate things as much as possible.
Now with a clear understanding of your financial situation, you should work to automate things for your loved one’s accounts, such as payments. Most banks and utility companies will allow you to connect accounts or do online bill pay to simplify monthly bills and expenses. The more you can automate these items and take them off your plate, the more peace of mind you will have that things are being paid correctly and on time, even if you or your loved one cannot manage them on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Ensure accounts and documents are up to date.
Another important tip is to assess each account (bank, utility, wills, deeds, etc.) to ensure they have the appropriate names, addresses, and executors assigned to each. You might be surprised by the last time you did this! Going forward, make it a priority to keep these important items up to date. Setting a calendar reminder is a great tool to make sure this task doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
- Have checks and balances.
If you are overseeing the finances of an aging loved one, it’s important that you have checks and balances in place so everything is on the up-and-up. This will protect both you and your loved one. For example, assign at least two people as administrators of a bank account – you and another trusted family member. Because you will both then receive regular bank statements, you will have the transparency, and peace of mind of all activity taking place. Apply this same principle for every type of financial account your loved one has.
- Seek outside help.
The simple truth is, there are many, many things in life in which we will need the help of someone else. Financial matters are no different. If you, or an aging loved one, are struggling to properly manage finances, there is no shame in seeking outside help from a professional. A CPA, tax attorney or lawyer can help you in a variety of ways when it comes to overseeing your finances, estate, wills, and other important documents. They will help keep things up to date and take any worry off your mind, so you can enjoy time spent with family – not worring about finances!
What tip do you find most useful for helping senior adults manage their finances? Do you have another tip to offer? Share your insight by leaving a comment below!