Retirement is a time to enjoy everything you’ve worked your whole life for. No alarms. No deadlines. No boss.
At the same time, retirement is fraught with financial uncertainty, because income sources are limited.
As the child of a retiree, you want to make sure their income will support them comfortably. After all, they worked hard to give you a good life, and they deserve to enjoy their retirement.
We all remember times when the bottom dropped out of the market, and retirees were caught in a bind. You don’t want your parents to worry about that.
However, most seniors tend to become uncooperative when it comes to financial questions. And they have a right to be, because, in the end, it’s their money. It’s that same refusal to “burden” you with details that has you concerned about the state of their finances.
And even if their finances are stable, you have to consider what to do if they should become injured and ill, because you know, for sure, they don’t want to think about it.
Make Moving an Opportunity
If your parent is considering moving after retirement, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about their finances.
According to a report by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, ⅔ of people plan to move around the time they retire. The reasons vary from wanting to be closer to family to reducing living expenses to health reasons.
It’s likely your parent will ask your advice about the move or solicit your help moving. This is an opportunity not to be missed when it comes to finding out more about your parent’s financial security.
Questions to Ask
As they’re looking for a new residence, introduce these questions into the conversation.
#1 How are your finances?
This is an appropriate question to ask when your parents are moving, because they need to purchase or rent a new residence that is within their budget. If you’ve moved recently, offer them some tips or divulge problems that could have been resolved with some forethought.
#2 What are your plans for the future?
Sure, they’re moving, but why are they moving? Are they moving to be closer to you? Are they downsizing to save money? And, if they’re not moving to be close to family, who will act as their support system?
#3 Do you have a backup?
If they’re not going to be close to family, who will act as their support if something should happen? Can they be trusted? If they’re going to be living close to you, you need information to protect their interests, such as a healthcare (HIPAA) release form, healthcare proxy or healthcare power of attorney, and a durable power of attorney that will go into effect only if your parent becomes incapacitated.
#4 Where is important information located?
Your parents have numerous financial and legal documents that may be located in numerous places. For their and your sake, it’s important to organize them in a physical or virtual folder. The folder should contain information, such as account numbers, billing dates, contact information and login information for
- Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid
- Bank, retirement, pension, investment and credit card accounts
- Insurance policies
- Deeds, leases or mortgage papers
- Car title, registration and loan information
- Property and income tax information
- Most recent tax return
- Contact information for key contacts, such as attorney and financial advisor
- Other important information, such as that related to a family-run business
#5 What do you want me to do?
Your parents need to feel as if they’re in control, so it’s important to discover and reassure them that you will carry out their wishes. If you can, develop a plan of action for most common future scenarios. However, if they are resistant, come up with one on your own so you’ll be prepared.
Making the Move?
If your parents are thinking about making a move to a senior living community, consider The Esquiline. As a nonprofit continuing care retirement community, we are affordable and offer your parent a continuum of care. Find out more by giving us a call at 618.394.6400 (toll free:1.800.533.6279) or contacting us online.