Caring for Aging Parents Series: Managing Finances for your Parents

Talking about money with your parents may not be a comfortable situation, but it’s critical to have the conversation as early as possible if you are becoming a caregiver for them.  Taking over their finances can seem overwhelming and will require a good organizational foundation to minimize stress on you.  Here are some suggestions for making the transition as seamless as possible:

Start by Collecting a List of All Accounts

 Investments, credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, etc.  If your parents are able to identify them all, great.  Otherwise, track incoming mail and start your own list.  We like to use a secure password vault like LastPass to collect account numbers, logins, usernames, security questions/answers, and balance information.

Become a Power of Attorney  

You’ll need this authorization to deal with any financial institutions on behalf of your parents.  Keep a scanned copy handy on your computer and a couple of extra paper copies in a secure but accessible file.

Change Mailing Addresses to Yours

Chances are, if you are taking over finances, your parents are not in a place to manage their own incoming mail and understand what to do with all of the statements and invoices that may be coming their way. 

Go Paperless and Set Bills up on Autopay whenever possible 

Reduce the amount of paper you’ll have to file and checks you will have to write by automating as much as possible.  If cash flow is a challenge, look for a credit card that can accommodate monthly bills and then you’ll have just that one payment to make each month.

Designate Separate Files for your Parents’ Financial Papers 

For those papers that you do need to keep, separate them from yours and have a designated area.  Often, a separate file box or bin can work perfectly for this need.

Get Support 

Hire an independent financial advisor to help you understand investment portfolios and needs, and a CPA to assist with taxes.  You might also consider a bookkeeper if there are a lot of transactions to record.

Share Information and Be Transparent  

You can get ahead of any potential conflicts with siblings or other family members by providing regular reports and updates.

I hope our series on caregiver support has been helpful to you!  Let us know what other organizational challenges you are facing, or solutions that are working for you.  We love the feedback. 

Missed part of the series? Click Here … for links to all posts in the Caring For Aging Parents Series or click on the links below …

Caring for Aging Parents Series:

Having that (very important) Conversation with Your Parents

Demystifying EOB’s

Collecting Critical Documents

Relocating & Downsizing

Caring for the Caregiver … Ask for Help!

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About Wendy Buglio

Wendy is the CEO & Owner of Living Peace, a Certified Professional Organizer who has earned both Level II CD (Chronic Disorganization) and ADD Specialist designations from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. She is dedicated to discovering what’s most important and then developing strategies to get everything else out of the way. With her non-judgmental approach and calming energy (combined with a healthy dose of reality and a sense of humor), she works with clients to make decisions and take action to create desired change. She applies this approach to physical objects in residential and office environments, but also to intangible “clutter” – such as tasks, obligations and goals – helping to maximize her clients’ productivity and organization. Some of her favorite clients have ADD – something that Wendy sees as an asset to creative thinkers and entrepreneurs! Wendy lives in Arlington, MA with her husband Mike (bookstore owner), their 7-year-old son Tony, and rescue dog Rosie. In her free time, she loves to entertain and plan events, visit Downeast Maine, and is a competitive fantasy football player. She is a repeat 39-mile walker for the Avon 39, The Walk to End Breast Cancer.

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