Schwab MoneyWise ®

Talking Money with Aging Parents

It's about the present—and the future.

Our Two Cents

Keep an eye out for elder fraud. Most perpetrators are close to the victims, like caretakers or even family. Remind your parents to never give out sensitive information, like their Social Security number(s). Find out more about elder abuse and how to prevent it.

For many families, talking about money is difficult. Your parents may not want to admit they need help, or they may be reluctant to see you in the parental role of giving advice. But with love, concern, and some thoughtful preparation, you can open the door to this important conversation.

Making things easier for them

Your parents may have their daily financial lives under control, but it doesn't hurt to discuss the basics. As people get older, even taking care of relatively simple things such as banking and paying bills can become more difficult. You might be able to help your parents simplify and streamline.

A good way to start is to talk about your own daily management issues, such as:

  • Staying on top of a budget—Do your parents have a budget in place? If not, you can help them get a clearer idea of where their money is going and determine if their income will continue to be enough to meet their daily needs.
  • Paying bills on time—If they're having trouble keeping up with due dates and bill paying, talk to them about establishing automatic payments from their bank account.
  • Handling credit—Ideally at this time in life, your parents are practically debt-free. If they're juggling credit card balances on a fixed income, you can discuss how they can pay off their debts.
  • Basic and online banking—Getting to and from the bank may become a burden. Help them take advantage of direct deposit for things like Social Security payments, IRA distributions or other regular sources of income. Also help them set up online and mobile accounts to reduce trips to the bank.

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal, or investment planning advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, financial planner, or investment manager.

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