Helping Aging Parents Manage Finances

Helping aging parents manage financesHelping aging parents manage finances: it’s a sticky situation. As our parents age, we worry about their ability to make sound financial decisions. We know they’re targets for financial fraud. How do we protect them, while also respecting their desire to remain independent?

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, CFP®, is president of the Charles Schwab Foundation and has served two White House administrations on financial capability policy. In a recent article, she offered the following insights.

Helping Aging Parents Manage Finances

Communicate: Talking about money can be hard, but it’s the most important first step. Let your parents know you are willing to help and why. Be upfront about the fact that seniors are targets for financial exploitation. Ask them if they have any concerns and in what areas they might welcome some help. Look for cues that might indicate they’re confused or vulnerable. The more two-way conversations you have about money, the easier it will become.

Collaborate: Offer to become part of their team. Beginning a dialogue with their financial advisors and health care professionals will help you spot any troubling signs as your parents age. If you establish clear roles and responsibilities before troubles arise, your parents will be less likely to feel you’re hovering or controlling them. Instead, they’ll know you’re available and informed to offer specific support when needed.

Evaluate: Offer to help assess their assets and liabilities, income and expenses, and insurance needs. If they already have a financial plan, suggest a review. Once you understand their needs, remember to check in with them regularly. Their needs may change. By laying the groundwork now, you’ll be better prepared to help them. And knowing that may make your parents more willing to let you.

Call a Family Meeting

call a family meetingDo you have your estate plan in order? Are your power-of-attorney documents, beneficiary forms and will up to date? That’s excellent. Now it’s time to call a family meeting, so you can share that information.

Many people find it difficult to talk with their children and families about finances, estate planning, and long-term care. So they avoid it. Yet, communication is a critical element to effective planning. It’s also a key factor in creating peace-of-mind for yourself and those you love.

Here are some helpful tips for when you call a family meeting:

  • Keep the discussion brief. Let your family know you’ve taken time to put your affairs in order, and you want them to be aware of your plans. Explain what documents have been drafted, why they are important to you and the family, and where they can be located.
  • Remember, estate planning is not just about death. It’s also about life, who we love, and what is important to us. This gathering is a great time to share with children and/or grandchildren some of the principles that guided you in your decisions (such as philanthropic plans or funds set aside for education).
  • Follow up with something fun. Even if you must keep your distance due to COVID-19 precautions, you can conclude with an activity everyone will enjoy. Host a family dinner outdoors or play a game online.  Games like Bingo, Five Things and Pictionary lend themselves well to Zoom or other virtual meeting platforms. Get more ideas with a web search for “games to play virtually.”

Did you know?

Our advisors will organize and facilitate family meetings for their clients, as part of our Core Client Services. That’s the value of Perspective.

By |2021-03-26T15:42:27-07:00March 29th, 2021|Estate Planning|

Video Library

Scroll through the Perspective Financial Services Video Library to watch original, brief videos on a wide range of personal financial planning and investing topics. (more…)

Estate Planning is Not Perfect

There are a number of reasons why you may want to consider creating or updating your estate plan this year (i.e. marriage, divorce, birth, COVID-19, retirement). And there are an equal numbers of reasons why you might be inclined to put it off. What holds most people back? The “popular” answer is we’re all afraid to face our own mortality. That hasn’t been my observation. The biggest challenge that holds many people back is failing to understand estate planning is not perfect.

Here is a breakdown of the common obstacles I see:

Becoming frozen in procrastination.

Getting started on what feels like a big, complicated task is the number one killer of success in any venture. “I don’t have time.” “I need to finish (fill in the blank) first.”  “I’ll have to give these questions some thought.”

Solution: Start with one simple task. Schedule a meeting with your advisor.

Choosing people and assigning priorities is tough.

This was huge for me when our kids were born and we had to name a guardian in our will. “I want the best for my kids. Nobody will do as good of a job raising them as I would.” We face the same challenge when selecting trustees or executors. “What if they don’t do things the way I would do them?”

Solution: Find comfort in knowing the guardians, trustees and executors you choose will do their best. That’s all you can expect of them, or of yourself.

Thinking decades down the line.

We often get stuck trying to predict future circumstances based on what we know today. “My kids aren’t ready to inherit money now. What if they’re still not ready in 15 or 20 years?” “What about my grandchildren? Will they be ready?”

Solution: Focus instead on the next five years.

Estate planning isn’t perfect. Perfect is the enemy of good. Remember, these documents are written on paper, not on stone. They don’t need to last 10, 20 or 30 years. Make the best decisions with the information you have today, and know that you’ll be updating your documents (making them better again, not perfect) in three to seven years. It takes the pressure right off the table.

For successful estate planning, your new plan just needs to be better than the current plan. Hire the right professionals, and let’s work to get it as good as we can.

By |2020-08-14T10:54:00-07:00August 17th, 2020|Estate Planning|

Reduce Anxiety with Estate Planning

 Reduce anxiety with estate planningThe COVID-19 pandemic has rattled many of us. News of people in the prime of life succumbing to the illness naturally leads us to contemplate our own mortality. We worry about the fate of our loved ones – both emotionally and financially – in the event of our death. Now more than ever, we’re being reminded that estate planning is for everyone, at any age. You may help reduce anxiety with estate planning.

Taking precautions like wearing a mask in public places, keeping a six-foot distance from people outside of our households, and washing hands before and after all outside interactions can help reduce your risk of illness. Being proactive in creating an estate plan can help reduce your family’s risk of financial devastation.

No one likes to think about death, and many people find estate planning stressful. Working with a professional planner can ease that stress and help the process go quickly and smoothly. Once complete, estate planning can reduce anxiety. It removes one large element of the unknown and provides peace of mind that family and loved ones won’t have to worry about financial loss.

Key Elements: Estate planning elements vary depending upon net worth, employment, marital status, and number of dependents. In general, the process includes:

  • Calculating assets and future expenses;
  • Creating a will and advance medical directives;
  • Assessing life insurance needs; and
  • Designating beneficiaries, guardians and trustees.

To learn more, watch this brief video featuring Perspective’s founder, Mike McCann, in which he shares a personal story about his father and estate planning pitfalls.

 

By |2020-07-16T13:11:54-07:00July 20th, 2020|Current Affairs, Estate Planning|