Protecting parents' finances begins with a chat

The Ticker

May 28, 1999|By Julius Westheimer

HOW CAN you protect your parents' finances as they age and face possible illness?

Black Enterprise magazine says, "Now is the time to get a handle on Mom and Dad's money matters. It could make the difference between a comfortable retirement or tarnished golden years."

It suggests talking with your parents about the problem -- just before retirement is the best time -- and asking some questions: Where are your financial records? How can I pay your routine bills, if necessary? Have you given one of your children a power of attorney? How will you handle expenses of a long illness? Have you done estate planning? Do you have any life insurance? If the house gets too big, what do you want to do?

ODDS AND ENDS: "If you don't list a 401(k) beneficiary, your estate becomes your beneficiary. This delays payments to your heirs and can cause more estate taxes and probate costs." (Ted Benna, president, 401(k) Association)

"About 45 percent of Americans now invest in stocks, either directly or with mutual funds in IRAs and 401(k)s. This figure is up from just 10 percent in the 1960s." (Kiplinger Washington Letter)

"It isn't too late to join the rush to stocks." (U.S. News & World Report)

"I'm very suspicious of this market's durability. Don't dare jump in and buy heavily just because the breadth has improved so much." (Ian McAvity's Deliberations)

Pub Date: 5/28/99

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