Sure, our parents may have smartphones, email addresses, and selfie sticks. But chances are; they may not be as clued in to the latest financial instruments or online banking manoeuvers out there right now. The good thing is; we are. So as long as we'll be helping them clean out the house this coming Chinese New Year, why not help them spring clean their finances as well?
Find and Backup their Financial Records
Before you even begin helping out, gather together their financial documents. Things like deeds, agreements, letters, or bank statements are important stuff you need to determine what assets and liabilities your parents have. They're likely crucial for any future purchases or loans.
Old paper documents may also be unreadable or even prone to crumble into dust at any moment. Don't forget to scan them and back them up somewhere digitally. If you find any documentation that needs renewing, mark them down and schedule a date to deal with that as soon as practicable.
Help Revise Their Budget
As we get older, our habits tend to change a lot less, and that may very well include the budget we stick to. The same is true for our parents. Take a shot at helping them to minimise expenses and maximise value with regards to their budget and see how it can be improved or made more efficient.
This is also where you may realise that they've been spending too much on some things or maybe not on others. Perhaps they are simply not getting enough money in. If they're the kind who stubbornly refuse your financial help, showing them a graph of how much that help is worth may change their mind. Or at least show them you're good at math.
Automate Payments for Them
Another problem with getting old is that things sometimes slip your mind. It happens to everybody, and can be especially troublesome if those things happen to be financial obligations. Once you've given your parents' budget a good revising, you can help them out further by automating some of the payments involved.
Bills and credit card payments can be automated using standing instructions so your parents never have to worry about missing any. Your contributions to their funds can also be automated so they don't have to think about whether or not money is coming in: Giving them more time to enjoy their retirement for once. They deserve it, after all.
Help Them Invest
Even if your parents are experienced enough in investing their money and putting their savings to work, you can still help them manage it. Just as with payments, you can automate certain transactions like fixed deposits or mutual funds.
If your parents are skittish about investing in the first place, you can introduce them to the different ways to get started. Our friends at Savemoney wrote about how to begin investing, as well as a horror story about people who don't invest their money properly (if your parents are the kind who need some convincing).
Protect Them from Scams
Just because their bills are automated and they have a lean budget doesn't mean they're completely safe from financial troubles. If they are not well-informed on the dangers of modern technology and the current world; they may be more susceptible to getting scammed.
Inform them of the kinds of scams commonly targeted at seniors by pointing them to reputable online sources or print these guides out and have them handy for reference in times of suspicion. Alternatively, make yourself available for them to talk to whenever something fishy comes up in an email of phone call. Scammers try new things everyday and the best way to keep your loved ones safe is to be close at hand to deal with any issues that may crop up.
Our parents are likely the people who gave us our very first coins to play and pay with. They were there to pat our back when we showed good spending habits and to slap our wrist when we spent way too much. Now that we're older and (hopefully!) more knowledgeable, it only makes sense for us to help them out in turn.
If you're still clueless on the exact steps to take in getting this assistance in motion - you can check out our previous guide on how to go about it.
Do you have any other tips on how to help out our parents with their financials? Do share them with us in the comments section down below!