As we near Father's Day of 2013, I'm thinking of my dad at the same time I am thinking about my son who is a dad. How different they are from each other. Although my dad passed on several years ago, I till remember the way he was. When my dad passed away, he did so suddenly, leaving my mom in a mess of financial headaches. Dad was born in 1915, so he grew up with his formtive years during the great depression, and then went through both the Second World War and the Korean Conflict. Dad didn't have time to think about money, so mom was left with paying the bills. Even so, there were no savings, bonds, or investments to handle those end of life expenses. Mom only knew about writing checks…not about saving for the future.
Consequently, my own son who is 42 and has two children, has thought long and hard about these issues. In fact, he has already arranged for my burial plot! LOL! But he learned the value of saving, of putting something aside for the future, and hopefully your children do as well.
Today we're mostly discussing the importance of parents talking to children about money, but it’s just as important for adult children to engage their parents in this discussion. If your parents, or a single parent, are entering their golden years, it may be time for you to have that conversation about money. He/she may have debt that needs disposition. But even more frequently, our precious elders are prey in an ever increasing game of money. You want to talk about lots of things with him/her, including:
- Have a budget based upon income, and do not exceed that in expenditures. As a retired person, they may not have the opportunity to earn more to pay off those debts.
- Stick to the budget at all costs. It would be better for them to borrow a bit from you for an emergency situation than to incur lots of debt.
- If your loved one can no longer make sense of the check book, it may be time for you to handle that for them. Nothing is worse than turning their checking account over to a clerk at the nursing home and have them decimate your loved ones finances.
- Budget a set amount for charitable gift giving, and be sure to stick to that figure. One of the biggest problems for seniors is watching TV all day. Because of that, your loved one may be susceptible to scams, religious zealtry, home shopping, starving children…you get the picture. Gift giving is appropriate…but help your senior distinguish between their set commitments and what they see on TV or receive in the mail.
- Put something away for the end of live expenses. If you loved one has not yet made a commitment to pay for their funeral expenses, now is the time to set something up. In this way, your family is not financially decimated when that event occurs.
- If your loved one has ongoing debt left over from previous situations, help them decide upon a course of action and run with that. Doing nothing does not help the situation, and your loved one will be harassed by creditors which can cause health and mental problems for them.
Your loved one may not wish to have this credit and debt conversation. You must be patient, but firm. It needs to be done for the long term health of your relationship with them, and with your own immediate family. Submitted by Carole Carlson.
Call us soon to help you make choices for your loved ones, and deal with any credit or debt issues that are lingering.
Happy Fathers Day!