Help a Senior Parent Budget & Manage Money
Q: My Mom is ready to sell the family home and move into an apartment following the passing of my Dad 4 years ago. She’s 76, in good health - a true pillar of strength for our family, but she is worried that she might outlive her money. She has used up most of her savings and only receives about $1,100 a month from various government pensions and supplements. She expects to net about $350,000 from the sale of the home. How can we help her with her money concerns?
A: As we get older, it gets harder to make big changes in our lives. Selling the family home where your Mom raised a family and shared a life with your Dad is a difficult and emotional decision to face.
However, now that she has made this decision, we have three pieces of advice; have patience, listen to her concerns and keep her involved in the decision making. There will be times she feels rushed or overwhelmed. You can not only help her through the selling process, but with moving as well.
Budgeting for Seniors – Plan for Health Care Expenses
With respect to financial matters, there are 2 key considerations for your mother to evaluate; her financial needs while she is in good health and her needs when she requires assisted living. This is a sensitive topic but one that needs to be discussed, as assisted living has many variables and costs, depending upon a person’s physical and mental capabilities. Having the discussion now will help ensure she has sufficient funds to manage her needs and health care expenses later on.
If your Mom is in good health, err on the side of caution and plan for the funds she will receive from the sale of her home to last 15 - 20 years. We would strongly encourage you and your Mom to find a registered investment advisor who is also certified as a senior specialist. They can assist your Mom in determining how to maximize the interest on her savings and how much she can draw from her savings each year.
Create a Spending Plan for Monthly and Seasonal Expenses
Once your Mom knows the amount of money she will have to live on each year, help her develop a realistic budget to meet her needs. Don’t forget to account for seasonal and annual expenses as part of her budget. Encourage her to create some flexibility in her budget to help her enjoy the little extras that make life worth living.
Have Some Patience with a Senior Parent Managing Money on Their Own
As you support your Mom, keep in mind that she may not be ready to do things “your” way. That’s ok, because she needs to find a money management system that works for her. Be supportive, stepping in when she needs your help or guidance….and have some patience.