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Your Finances and planning to support your aging parent

Updated on January 24, 2012

We all know that with the innovations in medicine and technology, enhanced living standards and vast health care networks, our aging parents are living appreciably longer than ever before. To that point, most men and women can look forward to living well into their eighties and even further. While on a personal level it will be great to have large families with diverse backgrounds and history, the downside is that you will more than likely end up supporting your aging parent financially

With government pensions likely to diminish likely to be pressured under the high volume and demand, and the reality that many aging parents simply will not have enough supplemental income from retirement savings or even worse still in debt. They will not be able to support themselves in retirement; the responsibility supporting your aging parent financially is likely to fall on the shoulders of you the adult child (and, possibly even your children).

The recent recession has all but eliminated most of peoples saving as they have been required to “dip-in” under the pressure of unemployment. And with new jobs even more scarce the prospect of recovering in time to retire will not be a common occurrence.

supporting your aging parent financially
supporting your aging parent financially

This is why you need to start planning to support your aging parent today

Encourage your parents to share their personal and financial information. It was hard for me at first to ask them but when my parents needed me to be a guarantor on their new mortgage because my father was out of work I needed to know. Otherwise, it will be difficult to assist them. Understand, however, that it will be hard for your parents too. To share information about their financial affairs with their children can be shameful for them. They will consider this information “private” or fear a loss of control. Explain to them that you helping them and simply want to be well prepared to help out if needed.

Monitor your parents spending habits

At a time when money is tight do you really think your parents can afford that Caribbean vacation down south? You will have a good idea of your parents income since you know what your parents do for a living part of your task will be making sure they live within their means. When you’re over for dinner par attention to off-hand comments that your parents make about their financial situation. Good signs will be eating out less and even downsizing their current house if needed.

Identify out how much you can afford to contribute

If you’re married, you need to have full disclosure with your husband or wife on how much you can give to help your parents and/or in-laws. Do not hide the fact that your parents need help. The last thing you need during this time is more stress from a fight with your spouse and undermine your own financial goals. If you’re an aging parent and you are reading this, have a talk with your siblings. These types of responsibilities often fall on the most financially secure child, which may create tension in the family if it’s unexpected or just thrown on them. So it’s vital to talk candidly

Get professional advice

Do not under estimate the help that you can get for your aging parent from professionals. Talk to your bank about setting up pre-authorized contribution plans to help support your aging parent financially. I and least of understand that your family is very important and that no matter what you will always have help no matter what side of the coin you’re on.


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