Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
As your parents age, you may find that taking care of them becomes a financial issue for you. Even parents who have prepared well for their retirement years can find they need help from their children to handle rising medical costs and other increasing expenses related to getting older.
Figuring out how best to help your parents with a mix of their money and yours, while still budgeting for your own household expenses, can be a balancing act. The best way to prepare for a potential impact to your budget is by doing your homework before any issues arise:
1. Make a list of all assets and sources of income
When you are compiling your list, you should consider not only your assets and sources of income but also what your parents own and earn. Some potential sources of income you might want to consider include part-time employment for your parents, their Social Security benefits and pensions, and the proceeds from the sale of your parents’ home, which could unlock any equity they have in it. Unless you are your parents’ only child, you may want to make sure you involve all of your siblings, and maybe even other family members, so that you can pool your resources to help when it’s needed.
2. Set boundaries
Once you’ve made the list of assets and income, you may have to start making some hard choices. For example, if you have children, will you stop saving for their college and put that money away for your parents? Which of your own assets are you willing to earmark for your parents’ needs? Are you willing to use part of your own retirement savings for their care? These are difficult questions to ask, with no right or wrong answers. But by setting some boundaries, you may be able to make some adjustments now to be better prepared later.
3. Use senior assistance programs
There’s no such thing as free money, but your aging parents may be able to take advantage of a variety of senior assistance programs that many states and communities sponsor. For example, states may give breaks on property taxes for homes owned by seniors, utilities might offer discounts on energy bills and many local social service agencies provide reduced-cost meals and free transportation to doctor appointments, to name just a few.
You can learn more by visiting BenefitsCheckUp, a free service of the National Council on Aging. The website can help you find federal, state and private programs that help adults over age 55 pay for prescription drugs, healthcare, utilities and other basic needs.
4. Consider other resources
To shield your parents and yourself, you may want to keep your money and property separate.
You also may want to review your situation with an attorney specializing in elder law who can answer questions about wills, living wills and financial power of attorney, as well as issues related to long-term care planning and guardianship, and any other issues that could arise.
Having to manage taking care of yourself, your children, and your aging parents all at the same time can be extremely difficult. Doing your homework and being prepared to address issues as they arise can help you make informed decisions based on as many facts as possible.
Steve Repak is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, CFP® Board Ambassador, and financial literacy speaker. He is also an Army veteran and the author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training For Your Money. Follow him on Twitter: @SteveRepak
Hack Your Finances: How to Manage Life’s Biggest Expenses by Decade
Life Insurance Vs. Disability Insurance: Do you Need Both?
Frugal Living For Real Life: Lessons From Personal Finance Blogs
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.