According to Pew Research, about one in seven middle-aged adults are members of the “Sandwich Generation,” providing financial support to both their parents and their children. Are you one of them? At both extremes of age, it can be difficult to bring up money topics with family, so we’re running a two-part series about how to make the process easier.
Baby Boomer parents may have a more analog way of organizing their financial lives than their Gen X children: physically going to the bank, writing checks, and paying bills through the mail. Automating these processes makes everyone’s life easier. Parents still feel in control, while you don’t have to worry about their heating bill being left in the refrigerator. Here’s how you can do it:
Make costs predictable.
Set up auto-billpay for your parents’ accounts and write down instructions for them to log in. You can even call companies and ask them to change due dates so that all bills are due around a certain time for predictable cash flow.
Use services to simplify.
Often, parents are still very independent but may need help in certain areas. There are many services that can fill the gaps—from grocery services like Blue Apron or Peapod to housekeepers. These services can help parents to stay independent longer.
Weekly pillboxes with compartments make it easy to tell if the correct medication has been taken for each day. Use the same concept, and make checklists for any other areas your parents need help remembering.
Ask parents to write an “I love you” letter.
Should your parents become incapacitated, the family needs to know how to make important decisions, but most people find these conversations uncomfortable. You can ask your parents to write a letter that will only be opened in an emergency detailing health instructions, location of the will, and contact information for their attorney and other professionals. Even better, make a binder clearly identifying all of this information. Other options include buying ready-made kits, or storing documents in a secure virtual vault.
We hope these tips are helpful to you and your family. We have even more advice on this topic in our whitepaper, “Prepare for the Needs of Aging Loved Ones.” The earlier your conversations and planning begin, the better prepared your family will be to face the future with confidence.
Wondering how to help the younger generation with these issues? Stay tuned for “How to Talk to Children About Money” in next week’s blog.
Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Halpern Financial, Inc.. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Halpern Financial, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Halpern Financial, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.