Finances: Don’t leave getting older too late

Age is a grand thing. We’ve got the value of experience, because we’ve all made those big and little mistakes. If asked, many oldies wouldn’t return to the ignorance of their youth. But the downside are those grey hairs that start to appear, along with the wrinkles and those cracking bones.

Whether you’re getting older or your parents are, some facts need facing.
However, the financial side of life shouldn’t place more of a burden on you. The best strategy is to think ahead because life is short and time does go faster than people think.
 
Yes, age happens to everyone!
 
So best to prepare a little earlier than you think you should. If this is something that you need to start thinking about, here are some tips for getting started.

Get Your Finances In Order

If you are the adult child of an elderly parent, make sure you protect your own financial security first. Many people experience financial stress when faced with caring for their ageing parents. For this reason, it makes sense to put a firm plan in place.
 
Benefits:
 
1. You’ll know how much money to keep aside
2. Know how much money you have to spare
3. Keep your own life ticking over
4. Pre-empt and prepare for potential stress on your own family
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Secure Long-Term Care Insurance

Encourage your parents to buy long-term care insurance sooner rather than later. They should buy a policy as soon as they hit retirement age, if not sooner.
 
Benefits:
  • Should they need personal care in a home, they will be able to afford to do so without draining family finances.
  • Insurance means the difference between living in a poorer care home or living in an Anglican Care home or similar
  • Your parent/s will enjoy their later years if cared for well
Note: When bringing up the subject of a long-term care plan, try to be tactful. It can be difficult for parents to admit that one day roles can reverse. They’ll need to come to grips that they might rely on you to care for them, rather than the other way round.
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What can happen:
  • Sorting out your parents’ finances can be tough.
  • You have to convince them they may need help
  • Siblings may have different ideas and opinions to contend
Consider seeking the help of a professional financial adviser to keep relationships intact.
 
Tip: Avoid trying to sort everything out yourself. Don’t risk having a falling out with any of your loved ones. Aim for the longterm happiness of your family unit as a whole.

Make Everything Legal

If your parents become too ill to make their own decisions, you or another person may need to:
  • Make the money decisions
  • Manage their everyday expenses for them
  • Manage their affairs generally
It is important that you have the legal authority to do this. If not, there could be accusations made against you by disgruntled family members or authorities.
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A good lawyer can advise how to get power of attorney. This gives you the legal right to make financial decisions on behalf of a parent. An alternative to this is setting up a living trust. This lets you make decisions now and sets in stone what happens when they do pass away.