Your parents money: Is it at Risk?
Your parents’ money-you saw them work a lifetime to build up their savings. They now are retired, enjoying their grandchildren and life in general.
You are busy with your career-haven’t visited in a while. When you do make time-you run in the home you were raised in, expecting a hug and laughter, but what you find shakes you to the core.
Your Dad is sitting at the table, holding his head. Mom, whose memory has been gradually deteriorating, has trouble remembering your name.
“What’s wrong?” you ask.
Your Dad looks up, “She spent it all!!!!!, Every penny-I know she didn’t mean to. But we have lost it all…”
It is difficult to watch your parents health deteriorate, but even scarier is watching them lose their memory and judgment.
When that happens to YOUR parents, they are at risk of mismanaging their money, but also of being the victim of evil folks who prey on the elderly.
You know you want to prevent your folks from being scammed, but don’t want to seem nosy, interfering know-it-all!!!! The news is full of stories about elderly people who have been taken advantage.
Here are just a few of the frauds directed at senior citizens, according to the FBI:
Senior Citizen Frauds:
- Counterfeit prescription drugs
- Cemetery and burial frauds
- Telemarketing frauds-especially contests, and sweepstakes.
- Internet schemes
- Investment Schemes
- Reverse mortgage frauds
- Identity theft
Why are the elderly vulnerable to this sort of fraud?
According to the FBI:
- The elderly are trusting.
- They may be looking for an anti-aging or get rich scheme.
- They are less likely to report fraud due to embarrassment.
- They may have a nest egg-making them a great target!
What Can You do?
What can you do to prevent these fraudulent activities as the child of elderly parents?
- Begin the conversation early-before your parents mental faculties deteriorate. Get them used to talking about their finances. Discuss what is in the news-clip out articles on the subject, send them links if they are computer savvy. The quickest way to shut their minds is for the one whose diaper they changed, trying to tell them what to do.
- Make sure your siblings are all on the same page-there are so many stories about families being split because one sibling took advantage of Mom and Dad.
- Stay part of their lives-visit, spend time with them-they deserve it. As you get older you will cherish those memories-so slow down, and give them your attention.
- Freeze credit-if their credit is frozen, it is more difficult for scams to occur.
- Identity theft protection-self explanatory-see this post for more information. Offer to buy it for them, or get it for a birthday, Christmas, or anniversary present! (Better than a tie!)
- Ask them to review your financial situation- ask for an opinion on your finances, which can naturally lead to a conversation about theirs.
The Lean Life Coach @ Eliminate the Muda, (great name huh) has written a post on helping elderly parents with their money-read his take here. Let’s honor our parents, and keep an eye on them. It is the least you could do! And remember, the elderly are not the only ones who are at risk for financial fraud. There are thousands of crooks out there trying to take your hard-earned money. As the old police sargent on Hill Street Blues used to say-”Let’s be careful out there!!!”