Guest Post – Do Your Senior Parents Need Help With Their Finances?

This article was written by Matthew Paulson of Getting Green, who was nice enough to write an article for me to post while we are on vacation. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out some of his other articles.

Eventually there becomes a point in everyone’s life when handling money can be too much of a daunting task. Here are some warning signs and things to look for to help figure out if your elderly parents need some help with their finances.

Take a look in your parents checkbook and bank statements. If they need help, this is where you will find it. If your senior adult has written multiple checks in sequential order to the same payee, they probably have some short term memory issues, and have paid for extra services which have not been performed. Examples of this would include nursing care, house cleaning services, and lawn care. If you can get a hold of your seniors bank statements and compare them to their checkbook, and you find a lot of missing checks in their checkbook, this is a problem. Either there is a book keeping issue or someone else is writing checks under their name.

Some seniors have a tendency to stop recording their deposits, meaning that a lot of money could be sitting in their checking accounts earning absolutely zero interest. These excessive amounts need to be transferred to good money market savings accounts or mutual funds which will provide a rate of return. Conversely, if your parents are writing excessive checks triggering very high NSF fees, there are also problems. This would indicate that your parents are spending much more than they can afford. If your account is not used at all, a dormant demand account fee will incur a monthly maintenance fee that can be quite costly.

If your parent’s bank statements and checkbooks are having horrible reconciliation issues and do not even come close, it could be a major sign that there is some mental impairment in their old age and that they need some help.

In the event that your parents fall behind on a monthly payment, either they have taken on too much debt or have some sort of impairment. Be sure to look into the issue to determine if a fraudulent action is going on by someone preying on the elderly.

Should your parents make multiple purchases for the same amount on their billing statement, they may have unknowingly signed up for a service. Make sure your parents aren’t making any unusual purchases such as digital music players and video game consoles.

If your parents are exhibiting any of these signs, they need help with their money. Offer to manage their money for them. This includes depositing their checks, paying their bills, and providing them an allowance to live off of. It’s not too hard and will help them financially.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Zachary says:

    I would be so excited if my mother would put away SOMETHING for her retirement. She assures me that she will work until she is 90. I worry about this.

  2. Debbie says:

    There are some good ideas here, but I have to say that most of my friends do not even use checkbooks. They either just have a basic idea of how much is in there, or they do everything online including pay their bills and check their balances.

    My point is that if your parents never balanced their checkbooks before, then not balancing them now is not necessarily a bad sign.