It should come as no surprise that remaining financially stable as we age is a high priority – now more than ever. With close to 20 percent of the population being 65 and older by 2030, the rising demand of elder care planning is hard to ignore. Investments are one of the best ways to do that, but what if you’re unsure about how to approach your loved one about their investments?
Although it may be uncomfortable at first, this conversation will benefit both you and your loved one, so here are our best tips on how to help your loved one with investments.
Declining Financial Capacity
1. Know the warning signs of declining financial capacity. A decline in financial capacity does not have to be caused by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia – we all experience cognitive decline as we age, impacting our ability to manage finances. But how do you know if your loved one is no longer capable of managing their finances? Below are some of the warning signs:
- Taking longer to complete basic financial tasks
- Not being focused on financial document details
- Decline in math skills
- Difficulty understanding financial documents
- Difficulty acknowledging risks in investment opportunities
2. Be on the lookout for other signs. If you don’t notice these signs but are still a little worried, then you may have to do some investigating. Check their mail for any unopened or unpaid bills (this could also give you some hints into their investment practices). Especially when experiencing declining financial capacity, it becomes easy to forget about previous investments made. Interest or dividend income found on tax reports could be a sign of an investment.
1. Know how to talk about finances with your loved one. This may seem like common sense, but there is a right way and a wrong way to talk about finances with your loved one, and the way you approach this conversation could directly impact your ability to help your loved one with investments. There are two important factors to consider here: remember to handle the situation as delicately as possible, and the sooner you discuss this with your parents, the better.
2. Know what questions to ask. After knowing how to begin the conversation, it’s time to come up with a list of questions, like the following:
- What investments do you currently have?
- Where are these held?
- Who are the contacts for them?
- How are the investments titled – are they individual, joint accounts, etc.?
- Do you have a financial adviser?
Be sure to write them down so you know you won’t forget anything when you talk to your loved one. It’s also a good idea to know your loved one’s bank accounts, insurance policies, IRAs and credit union accounts.
How to Help
When considering how to help your loved one with investments, remember the Golden Rule: treat your loved one the way you would like to be treated. After all, you will be experiencing the exact same declining financial capability that they are currently experiencing. Confidently and respectfully help your loved one with investments. The key word in that sentence is help, not to take complete control over every aspect of their finances.
As uncomfortable as helping your loved one with investments may seem, this offers you a chance to learn if you need to provide your loved one with financial support. It’s also important to use this as an opportunity to talk about finances with your own children and relatives so that they can be more prepared for when you are in your loved one’s current situation later in life.
Here are some more helpful tips if you’re caring for a loved one’s finances.