Home for the holidays – mistletoe and red flags

Laurie MacNaughton © 2018

During the holiday season many of us will spend more face-to-face time with aging parents than we typically do. Consequently, in addition to the turkey, gifts, and mistletoe, this season can be a chance to spot common red flags that may indicate it’s time to talk with your parents about financial matters.

Deferred home maintenance, including items seemingly as small as dripping faucets or yard maintenance, may be an easily-spotted sign you may want to talk with your parents about their finances, because unaddressed upkeep is often a money issue.

Another sign of a looming financial issue can be a stack of unopened bills, especially if a parent has been ill. For many of us an avalanche of doctors’ bills can be scary, but if you’re living on a fixed income it can be paralyzing.

A third sign is evidence of new credit – either an equity line or new credit cards. This often serves as an indication there are ongoing cash flow problems.

Other, potentially more advanced red flags include a rash of strange phone calls, junk mail from debt-restructuring services, and late notices. Any one of these signs could indicate it’s time to have the “money talk” with parents – and like the other talk, it can be awkward. A good starting point for this conversation can be found on FINRA’s website at http://www.finra.org/investors/highlights/talk-aging-parents-about-money

As with most things in life, our parents’ financial matters can be handled in one of two ways: before there’s a crisis, or after a crisis has already occurred. If you would like to discuss how a reverse mortgage might help your parents with their financing needs in retirement, give me a call. I always love hearing from you.

For a printable list of red flags, click here: Printable checklist of red flags

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