3 tips for helping aging parents manage their finances

With all of the changes that retirement can bring, it’s understandable if your aging parent may feel overwhelmed during their later years, especially when it comes to managing their finances. If they turn to you for assistance with their finances, there are many ways you can help. In fact, by lending a hand now, you can help ensure they are secure in their future, and perhaps even discover extra money or benefits that they may qualify for, notes Money Sense.

If your parent would like assistance managing their finances, here are three suggestions you can make.

1. Help monitor their statements
Ask your parent if they would like you to review their monthly bank and credit card statements with them, recommends the Financial Post. It can be easy to lose track of expenses or bill payments, especially if your parent has been using the same accounts for decades. By receiving a copy of their statements, you can help ensure there aren’t any unnecessary expenses or sneaky costs or fees your parent isn’t aware of. An added benefit of regularly reviewing statements together is that it adds an extra level of protection to the accounts. As the Financial Post notes, you can keep an eye out for financial scams and abuse, and if financial advisers are aware that you are monitoring the statements, they may be less likely to try to take advantage of your parent’s financial situation.

Helping your parents review their finances can help you ensure they have a comfortable retirement.

2. Safeguard important documents
A centralized system for organizing bank statements and other papers can be very helpful when managing finances. Ask your parent if they would like you to gather their financial documents and store them in one easy-to-access place. It’s a smart idea to keep all important documents together in one durable container. Money Sense recommends storing these papers in an unlocked, waterproof and fireproof box. These are the documents you should keep in the box:

  • Names and locations of all bank accounts
  • Income sources
  • List of all assets and investments
  • Debt information
  • Insurance policies
  • Birth certificates
  • Wills and funeral instructions and prepaid contracts
  • Power of attorney documents
  • Family trust documents
  • Contact information for lawyer, financial planner and insurance agent
  • Most recent tax returns

3. Consider risk
Part of managing finances is anticipating how you will handle your money in the future. Ask your parent if they would like to review their investments with you. Make sure to look at any recent investments, debts and any financial actions that could be considered risky, advises CIBC Wood Gundy. Depending on the situation, you could also ask your parent if they would think it would be worthwhile to enlist the help of a trusted financial advisor to help plan for the future.

Considering how a move to a retirement residence can fit into you or your parent’s future? Take advantage of Chartwell’s Budget Assistant Tool, which helps you calculate future income and expenses.