How a Financial Advisor Can Help Your Aging Parents

How a Financial Advisor Can Help Your Aging Parents

If you have parents in their 70’s or 80’s, you may have begun to notice subtle changes that could signal a decline in their overall well-being. You may feel the need to check in with them more frequently, maybe even doing a little reconnaissance when you visit to surmise how they are really doing. You’ve found that asking questions directly sometimes earns you a lecture on them being the parent and their desire for you to mind your own business. You certainly aren’t trying to pry or mettle in places where you don’t belong, but you are becoming increasingly concerned that things might be slipping through the cracks.

At first, it may be a late fee on a bill they forgot to pay. It may be that the same conversations with your parents are occurring again and again, without them realizing it. It may be the fact that your mother’s typically immaculate home is suddenly looking disheveled and unkempt. Whatever initial red flag you see, there comes a realization that you are going to need to be much more involved in your parents day-to-day lives, possibly while also getting a heavy dose of resistance from your parents.

Navigating the Changing Relationship With Your Aging Parents

How do you navigate this changing stage of life with your parents, without losing your mind or your relationship with them? Is there an easier way to work through these aging phases with your parents, while still allowing them to be in control of their own futures? This can be a difficult phase for both parent and child, but it can be manageable if approached in the right manner. If you’ve never been down this path before, locating the right resources to fit your parent’s needs can be both time consuming and confusing. You may not know what the realistic options are for your parents based on affordability, as they may be hesitant to share their financial information with you, their child. Many adult children are finding that a good approach is to engage a trusted financial advisor to work directly with their parents and act as an intermediary for many of the issues they will encounter. This trusted advisor should act as a fiduciary for your parents and should be well-versed in aging issues. This can be especially helpful if you do not live in close proximity to your parents and need someone local to assist them.

The advisor can become a trusted resource to your parents, engaging them in a non-confrontational manner and having conversations about aging well in advance of any serious issues developing. They can look at your parent’s entire financial picture, educate them on the financial implications of their choices or inaction, as well as help them communicate their decisions to the whole family. While having your parents work with an advisor will not eliminate all the tough conversations, it can give you peace of mind knowing your parents have an advocate who serves as the unbiased intermediary, allowing your main focus to remain on nurturing the ongoing relationship with your parents.

Guest Post by Cheryl J. Sherrard, CFP®, NAPFA Registered Advisor at Clearview Wealth ManagementClearview Wealth Management Logo

Cheryl believes that senior clients need an unbiased advocate who can help them proactively plan for their later life stages, thus empowering them to stay in better control of their futures. She provides assistance to seniors by listening carefully to their goals and desires, evaluating any risks to their future, appropriately investing their portfolios, evaluating future housing choices and ensuring transitions are well thought-out and in their best interest. She assists with complex estate and gifting situations, trust management and education of the extended family if desired. Cheryl is trained as a Stephen Minister, coming alongside those in crisis situations, and has a heart for helping seniors.

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  1. Louann Webber July 1, 2014 Reply

    Your post highlights the important concerns of working through life transitions and finding the right resources while maintaining a healthy relationship with aging parents. Adult children faced with this situation may be interested to learn about Daily Money Management services – a vital resource that compliments the services of other professionals such as financial advisors, accountants, attorneys, investment advisors or social workers. Daily Money Managers (DMMs) are professionals who handle tasks such as day-to-day banking, budgeting, insurance paperwork, and organizing records and receipts in preparation for income tax filing. Working with a DMM eases the burden on the adult child, knowing the financial affairs are being taken care of properly and professionally and may allow some seniors with health challenges to avoid guardianship and a complete loss of independence.

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