Here are some questions and answers on how to help older parents:
How can I keep my retirement savings on the way while I help my parents?
People tend to say yes quickly when a parent asks for help. But it is important to examine your own budget and retirement plans, and calculate how much you can realistically spend over time. Adults should ask, "How much can I help without harming myself?" Said Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist. You may want to consult an online retirement calculator or financial planner if you can afford one, to help analyze your situation.
If you decide you can help financially, be clear about how much you can provide and what the money will be used for, so that the limits are set in advance, said Julie Fortin, financial planner in Windham, N.H.
If there is not much extra money to spend but you are determined to help, you may have to cut back in some way, for example, postpone the purchase of a new car, to free up cash. You might consider reducing what contributes to your own retirement savings, but eliminating contributions is not advisable.
"Don't stop your own savings," said Erin Wood, an estate planner and adviser in Omaha. "You don't want to end up in the same situation your parents are in."
What happens if I am reluctant to pressure my parents for details about their finances?
"Most people don't feel safe talking to their parents about money," Wood said. And parents may feel embarrassed or ashamed for asking for help, which can make discussion even more difficult.
So accept that the conversation will be awkward, but have it anyway.
To avoid misunderstandings, it is better to start talking when parents first ask for help, Wood said. Don't be ashamed to ask for details about your finances, he said. "No one should give an open checkbook to a father or anyone."
Identifying the reason for your cash shortage can help identify possible solutions. If it is an expensive medical prescription, it can help identify options such as taking a generic drug or using a mobile application to save money. If your parents spend a lot of money on entertainment, they may get bored and need some structured activities, maybe part-time work or volunteer work, if they can.