It wasn’t until his dad became the victim of a scam that Kyle thought to take a closer look at his parents’ finances. Kyle’s 84-year-old father was past due on his insurance bill, yet he was regularly paying for internet service -- even though his computer hadn’t worked in years! Credit card statements showed his mom had purchased tons of stuff from TV shopping channels – none of which she remembered buying.
It was then Kyle knew he needed to step in and start managing their money. Here’s what he did and what you can do if your parents need help, too.
Broach the subject delicately.
If you start issuing warnings or threatening power of attorney, you might be met with resistance by parents who fear losing their independence. Kyle explained he wanted to help them pay their bills and possibly save them some money in the process.
Familiarize yourself with their finances.
What bank accounts do they have? What bills do they pay? Do they have a safe deposit box?
Simplify their finances.
Do they need more than one bank account? Can some credit cards be canceled?
Reduce their debt.
Kyle’s parents had thousands of dollars in credit card debt, so he sought help from a debt management company.
Reduce interest rates.
Refinance their mortgage. Switch to credit cards with lower interest rates.
Get online access to bank accounts and credit cards.
Kyle set up online bill pay and regularly checks for unusual credit card charges.
Failing to talk about money matters with your parents before a problem arises could put you in a difficult position, something Kyle found out the hard way. Financial talks with your aging parents can be ongoing conversations that help preserve their wealth and show your love for them during the final years of their lives.