This article explains how adult children can help aging parents with their bills and brokerage statements in a way that is supportive and not condescending.
- Start slow and early - The best way to broach the subject is gradually by discussing recent market performance, overall health of the parents' investments, and concerns about the longevity of their retirement savings.
- Alert them to scams - Make sure your parents are familiar with phishing tactics and that they never give out their Social Security number or other personal details by phone or email. A parent may also designate a trusted contact or Power of Attorney on their accounts to monitor suspicious activity and also to help pay bills.
- Talk about health care - Have a family discussion about the cost of health care and who would take care of each parent if they weren't able to take care of one another.
- Ask about estate plans - Make sure each parent has a Durable General Power of Attorney and a Health Care Directive in case of their incapacity. Review beneficiary designations on their retirement plans especially under the new SECURE Act which forces distributions to children within 10 years of the decedent's passing. Ask a parent to introduce you to their estate planning attorney and their financial advisor to help everyone concerned to understand the plan.
- Include the family - Have a family meeting with all adult children to discuss who will take care of mom and dad and how. An absent sibling may show up later and second guess the entire plan so try to be inclusive.