As parents age, their children often find themselves taking on tasks that their parents used to manage. These things can include driving them places, managing the inside and outside of their homes, assisting them in making decisions, or managing the finances.
Many older people find themselves, for the first time, handling their finances in ways they wouldn’t have imagined just a few short years ago. Bills can be paid several times or not at all. This can lead to receiving refund checks for overpayments, that might not get deposited or utilities being shut off. Their credit cards could be used by scammers and they might not recognize it. They could be paying interest and late fees on their credit cards and not understand why.
Often, their “Sandwich Generation” children find themselves handling this in addition to everything else on their plates. The same way cleaning help, gardeners, nurse advocates, and experts in relocating seniors are brought in, this might be the right time to bring in a professional bookkeeper. A good bookkeeper will develop a relationship with your aging parents. He or she can set up a schedule to meet with them to sort through the mail, pay bills, and reconcile credit card and bank statements. This will allow them to recognize suspicious credit card charges and bank withdrawals. The bookkeeper can either bring these transactions to your attention, and you can decide whether you will look into them, or ask them to do this for you. By having them come on a regular schedule, you can be assured that many of the errors and their consequences will be eliminated.
These different resources can free you up to do the fun things with your parents, spouse, and children. Enjoy time away from work with your family instead of picking up loose ends, you deserve it!
Faith Nager is the owner and chief bookkeeper at To The Point Bookkeeping, and she can be reached at (919) 564-9933 and at [email protected].