Four Financial Tips for Aging Parents

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largest_Senior_at_Bank_9.jpgMay is Older Americans Month​, making it an excellent time both to celebrate aging parents and to think about issues they may be facing. As part of Older Americans Month, the Administration on Aging and the Administrat​ion for Community Living have jointly released a number of tip sheets on areas of interest to aging parents and other seniors. One of these tip sheets encourages seniors to “blaze a trail to securing your finances.”

That’s good advice. According to the 2014 census, the median income for households with householders 65 and up was $36,895.  A full 10% of those 65 and older were considered to be living below the poverty line. And alarmingly, the amount of financial abuse suffered by seniors is estimated to top $3 billion annually. So taking steps to stay financially healthy is important.

The four tips offered by the ACA/ACL to help avoid financial abuse and exploitation include:

Hold on to paperwork. Yes, it can be messy and hard to organize, but aging parents and others need to hold on to tax returns, banking and investment records, legal documents, and other important financial documents – and they also need to keep them in a safe place. But they shouldn’t stop there: they need to make sure that someone who can be trusted knows where everything is in case the senior is incapacitated or otherwise unable to get to these documents.
Keep an eye on things. Take a look at bills, bank statements, etc., and make sure there’s nothing on there that shouldn’t be. And if there is – report it!
Keep private information private. Social security and bank account numbers are not the business of someone calling on the phone. Never give out personal information unless there is no question that the source can absolutely be trusted.
Get a durable power of attorney. This legal document enables a trusted person to take care of finances when someone is incapable of acting on their own. While they’re at it, it doesn’t hurt for aging parents to set up an estate plan.

Taking the right steps to ensure financial security can make a big difference and can provide peace of mind to many aging parents.

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