Signs It’s Time To Manage Your Parents’ Finances
One of the hardest parts of life is realizing that you need to start taking care of your parents. For as long as you’ve lived, they’ve been the ones in charge. Even though you’ve been an adult for quite some time, your parents have always been your parents. They’ve always been there for you. You always felt like somebody was looking after you. So when you see that it is now them who need to be looked after, it can shake you. As your parents get older, there will be a lot of tough conversations you need to have with them—both about what happens when they’re gone, but also about how you’ll manage their wellness while they’re still here, and unable to care for themselves. One big thing you need to watch out for is their finances. As people get older, they can become the victim of financial fraud, or simply become so forgetful that they mismanage their own money. It can be tough to acknowledge, but, here are signs it’s time to manage your parent’s finances.
They’re forgetting their own purchases
They do not remember making certain purchases. When they go over their credit card statements, they are completely confused about certain items on there. They don’t recall buying that. However, you take a look around their home and there it is—the item on that credit card statement. If they are becoming forgetful about their own purchases, they can be victims of credit card fraud, since they may not think to report an odd-looking purchase on their statement.
They’re making unordinary purchases
They’re buying expensive things that they normally wouldn’t buy and do not need. Unfortunately, salespeople can take advantage of elderly individuals—especially ones they perceive as lonely—and will upsell them on things they cannot afford.
Scammers are targeting them
You’re noticing some odd mail showing up in their mailbox. Sweepstakes. “Once in a lifetime” investment opportunities. “Free” vacation package offers. These are likely scammers that have identified your parents as elderly, and vulnerable.
They have hired assistance
Whether it’s an in-home nurse, an office assistant, a dog walker, or just someone to help with errands, your parents have hired a stranger who is regularly in their home. This is often how elderly abuse occurs—the people the elderly pay and trust to take care of them access their private documents, credit cards, and more.
They struggle with the Internet
Your parents feel very uncomfortable using the Internet. They don’t know how to find a website. They can never remember how to log into something. They don’t know what or where their passwords are. Remember that they have a lot of private information online. If you notice them struggling to navigate the Internet, they could be putting themselves at risk for scams and identity theft.
Late notices are piling up
Late notices for bills they believe they’d paid are showing up. Creditors are calling. Your parents are sure they paid that bill. Or, they didn’t realize that bill was so high.
They have several surprise auto-pays
They have various auto-pays set up that they were not even aware of. Perhaps a few to charitable organizations. They made what they thought was a one-time donation, not knowing the organization stored their credit card information and began charging them monthly.
They don’t filter emails
You snag a peek at their email inbox and it’s filled with spam. They haven’t set up filters, and the solicitations are rolling in. You even see they’ve opened some of the emails with subjects like “Help! I’m an Egyptian prince and need $20K…”
They answer every phone call
Your parents answer every call, including from unlisted and blocked numbers. You’ve heard them stay on the line for a long time with obvious scammers and solicitors. They don’t shut down these calls the way they used to.
They forgot about authorized users
Your parents have several authorized users of their accounts that shouldn’t be on there anymore, like an old assistant, your sibling’s ex husband, or a grandchild that was only meant to be on there for one year.
They’re overpaying for basic things
They pay tremendous amounts of money for things, when you know they could get much better deals. They don’t seem to compare prices anymore, or think critically about how much something should cost.
They’re signing up for every “deal”
Every membership to every wine club and “savings” club. Every credit card offer. They’re easily wooed by these deals that seem too good to be true (because they are).
They’re cash poor and it makes no sense
You know what your parent’s intended spending is, and what their income is, so the fact that they’re constantly cash-poor makes no sense. If they should have more money coming in than they do, it’s time to take a look at things.
Their home is in disarray
There is mail and documents everywhere. There is trash that needs to go out. There are boxes everywhere and filing cabinets left open. If they’re struggling to keep their home in order, there is a good chance they’re struggling to keep their finances in order, too.
Other simple tasks overwhelm them
Filling prescriptions, understanding the feeding instructions on their pet’s dog food, cooking—tasks that used to come easily to them are starting to become difficult and frustrating for them. If this is true, they may not be paying much attention to their finances—that’s the last thing on their list of priorities, since just simple tasks are a burden.