TODAY   |  March 13, 2014

Tips on how to help aging parents with finances

Financial editor Jean Chatzky joins TODAY to offer advice on how to figure out when an aging parent might need your help with finances, and what exactly you should do.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it's 8:47. this morning on "today's money," we're managing your parents' finance. nearly every family deals with aging issues in one form or another. how do you know when your parents need help with their money? jean chatzky, good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> it can divide your family and cause issues. if you put it off, you're in trouble.

>> you have to put it in place before your parents have health issues.

>> you have three categories to talk about. the first is starting the conversation. how do you go about it?

>> you want to know who you need to talk to should things go wrong. put it on you. i'm doing this in my own life. can we talk about where things are in your life?

>> you also want people to identify trigger points . what are trigger points ?

>> trigger points are signs things are starting to go wrong. i'm starting to see papers pile up, i'm starting to see boxes because perhaps your parents are shopping excessively or i'm seeing your parents are worried they're being taken advantage of. it's a great time to sit down with a financial adviser and talk things through.

>> what kind of preach cautions can you take and when should you start looking at them?

>> you can start setting up automatic bill payment so you make sure everything is being paid on time. do it a little at a time, don't do it too quickly or your parents will really feel you're trying to take over.

>> and one of the things you power of attorney .

>> so you can take over and pay their bills, manage their accounts. it's much better than getting your name on their accounts. and make sure they're not taking too much risk in their asset allocation and check their credit report .

>> carson is in the orange. what do you have?

>> here you go, jean. donald wanted to know what differences should i count for when helping my parents invest, versus themselves?

>> they can't take as much risk as can you. they should be increasing the portfolio they have in safer assets by about 1% from each year.

>> another question?

>> is it smart for my parents to sell their house as soon as the mortgage is paid off?

>> i wouldn't think so necessarily. i love the ideas that goes through it easier. the benefit is you want to look at paying for that house.

>> thanks for the questions, thanks