If it hasn’t happened already, it will. If you have aging parents, one day, sooner or later, you will assume responsibility for making daily decisions on their behalf.
At a future point in time, your parents will struggle with tasks that were once easy. The likely sphere where you’ll first intercede: The business transactions of daily living – crunching numbers, balancing check books, managing investments, and paying bills.
The essence of this responsibility: You will be taking on the business operations of another household. It’s easy to underestimate the time required. Think about the time you already spend managing income and expenses for your own household; multiple that by 1-and-a-half and you’ll approximate the amount of time needed for your parents’ paperwork.
I’ll provide an overview of the complexity of the challenge but, in doing so, I am not trying to daunt you. Rather, I am trying to motivate you to act sooner rather than later.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, about one-fifth of adult children report having parents and family members with diminished financial faculties. The time to act is before the first signs of trouble. Wouldn’t it be better to have your parents’ assistance and support during the transition of their everyday transactions to you?
The starting point: Familiarize yourself with every aspect of your parents’ financial picture. That means piecing together their income, expenses, assets, bank accounts, investments, and so on. Take a delicate approach; be sensitive to their discomfort and the possibility of some initial reluctance.
A generational experience
Many aging adults were affected by the Great Depression. That era’s financial crisis shaped attitudes and money management practices. This adds complexity to the changeover of administrative duties.