Talking to Aging Parents About Their Finances
Do you know if your parents have a will? If anyone is trying to sell them an annuity? If they are paying all of their bills? If you answered no to these questions, it may be time to have a conversation with them. You may be groaning right now – who enjoys talking about money? – but doing this can help ensure your parents’ well-being.

Ask your parents if they have been unable to pay any bills or purchase essential expenses. If so, help them revise their budget. Are there any expenses that can be cut or reduced, like dining out? Is there any way to increase their income, such as through a part-time job or reverse mortgage? Encourage your parents to contact the creditors/service providers for bills they cannot pay. If they are not paying their bills due to memory problems and you cannot take over the bill-paying yourself, you may find it helpful to hire a daily money manager. Low-income seniors may be eligible for free assistance through a volunteer program. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for more information.

Long-term care costs
If your parents do not already have a plan for financing their long-term care, help them create one. Saving is one option, but, it may be difficult to save enough to completely cover their costs. Another option is to purchase long-term care insurance. Since there are many provisions to consider, you and your parents may want to talk with a qualified insurance advisor about what would best meet their needs.


If someone is trying to sell your parents an annuity or other investment opportunity, review it in detail to see if it would make sense financially. If not, explain to your parents why. If they are getting calls from telemarketers, sign them up on the National Do Not Call Registry (888-382-1222). Discuss common scams, such as the promise of lottery winnings if you send a check for taxes, and encourage them to talk to you before sending money to someone.

Estate planning
If you are not sure if your parents have a will, ask. Those with more complicated financial situations may want to have their will drafted by a lawyer, but others may be able to create one with the aid of a book or computer software. Also discuss if they have other estate planning documents, such as durable power of attorney for healthcare and finances.

If your parents were sick, you would make sure they went to the doctor. Taking care of their financial health is just as important as taking care of their physical health.