Handling finances can be extremely difficult for a senior citizen. They could be in failing mental and physical health. Or, unable to live on their own terms. The value of an average mortgage is about $250,000. Yet, the average monthly mortgage payment is about $1,200. Coupled with additional home related costs like insurance, utilities, food, lawn maintenance, repairs, and other costs, hundreds or thousands of dollars can be added to the monthly mortgage payment.
The average costs for medical care through retirement and/or elderly age can cost over $280,000. That doesn’t include the costs attributable to continuing care for serious ailments or diseases. Barely 30% of people have pension plans that they can count on in the future. The average salary for semi-retired and working senior citizens barely goes over $20,000. Social security payments usually amass to about $16,000 a year. It isn’t hard for the average senior citizen to get in over their head when it comes to their finances.
If you are the adult child of a senior citizen with financial problems, there are ways that you can help. They won’t be easy. Yet, nothing in life that is worthwhile ever is.
Talk to Them
Senior citizens have to sooner or later confront the mortality of their own lives. They have to accept that their health, bodies, and minds will gradually fail. Or they have to accept that they can’t drive anymore. Or they have to accept that if they reenter the workforce, they won’t be paid very well.
Let them know that you are on their side. That you want to help them and that you need their help to help them. Acknowledging that one is incapable of handling their own finances can be a humbling, depressing, and stressful experience. Take it slowly and convince them that you have their best interests at heart.
Help your senior citizen parents to downsize their lives. If they live in a large house, convince them of all the money they could save and/or gain access to by selling it. There are many real estate agents that specialize in helping senior citizens downsize and sell all of their belongings in a sympathetic manner.
Senior Citizen Discounts
Talk to your senior citizen parents about making the absolute most out of senior citizen discounts. There is virtually an incalculable amount of senior citizen discounts and free passes for supermarkets, retail businesses, entertainment venues, transportation, museums, and so on. Make sure that your parents ask if a senior citizen discount is available to them wherever they go.
If your parents have a life insurance policy, check to see if it has any accrued cash value. Most life insurance policies can be converted into a self-paying supplemental income or leveraged against for a loan. If your parents don’t have any life insurance, you can buy final expense insurance on their behalf. This is so they don’t have to worry about future funeral costs.
You can apply for burial insurance over the phone. To do so, you would have to prove an insurable interest as their child. Meaning that applying for burial insurance will spare you from having to pay their funeral yourself. Your parents will have to talk to an agent on the phone or show their consent by signing off. A basic burial insurance policy costs about $20,000. As a beneficiary, you will be responsible for paying all of their final expenses.
One Step at a Time
Take it slow. Convince your parents of your intent and why they need your help. The best way to help your senior citizen parents with their finances is to ensure their cooperation in doing so.