Helping Manage Finances Gently

Talking about finances with family members can be tricky; some families are very open and frank about money and management of finances and others don’t speak about it at all.  But when aging parents start to show signs of having trouble managing their own finances, it’s vital to ease into the discussion of helping to oversee money matters before a serious problem arises. 

According to a recent New York Times article, starting the discussion early, before a crisis situation erupts is the best strategy.  It can sometimes take years for elderly loved-ones to feel secure in agreeing to allow even partial help with their finances.  Siblings can delegate an adult child, possibly the closest emotionally to their parent or parents, to initiate the discussion about permitting financial help.  Keeping the other siblings in the loop and informed will help prevent suspicious and rifts from forming.  Money issues can bring out the worst in the best of families. 

By broaching the subject of finances from the point of view of managing things well should the need arise, elderly parents are more likely to share information.  A gentle approach over time generally works best, especially if an older parent is used to managing finances themselves.  If this approach is not well received, engaging a financial planner(who charges an hourly fee, not a commission), with approval from the elder, is another option.  If adult children start planting the seeds of accepting help to financially plan for the future with their older parent or other loved one, it helps reduce anxiety and give seniors a greater sense of control.  Losing our independence, whether physically, cognitively or financially, is a common fear among most aging adults.  

As older adults continue to live longer lives, financial planning for greater longevity is crucial and may take the work of professionals along with trusted family members.  Experts suggest that having several trusted family members, as well as professionals, take part in money management is the best plan to prevent financial abuse or fraud. 

Learn more about financial caretaking and planning by following this link to the Whealthcare Planning website.  For Canadian information on financial planning for every stage of life, visit the Financial Planning Standards website here