Aging Warning Signs That You May Need Help With Finances

Aging Warning Signs That You May Need Help With Finances

Updated on Mar 29 2019


For many people, aging can bring financial struggle. From cognitive decline and chronic illness to the side effects of medication; everyday expenses and bills can easily pile up and lead to financial problems.

It’s important to know the warning signs of financial issues before they become a serious problem. Being familiar with these warning signs can help you protect your assets and get the help you need for financial success in and throughout retirement.

Identifying Financial Problems Early

It can be hard to ask for help and no one wants to lose their independence with age. However, identifying and solving financial issues in a timely manner is crucial to aging independently and having a financially sound retirement.

Geriatric psychologist Dr. Melissa Henston provides more insight on the importance of identifying financial problems early:

“It’s often hard to admit that you need help as you don’t want to lose your independence. However, daily living tasks, such as finances, sometimes get to be too much as we age and it’s important to get a plan together and for family members and loved ones to step up and address the problem when this happens — even if it is painful. The problems will not go away and usually need to be addressed in a timely manner.”

6 Signs That it’s Time to Ask for Financial Advice

Here are the common warning signs that you may need to consider getting help with your finances and day-to-day living needs.

1. Activities of daily living are becoming increasingly difficult.

29 percent of homeowners over the age of 62 have trouble with or need assistance with at least one activity of daily living (ADLs) such as cleaning, cooking, money management, shopping and using the telephone. If any of these activities are becoming increasingly difficult for you, it may be time to ask for help. Even paying bills can become difficult with age, whether Alzheimer’s or dementia is a factor or not, and it’s common to need help as check writing and online bill payments become difficult.

2. Bills are stacking up.

If you are frequently coming across stacks of mail that include unopened and unpaid bills, it may be a sign that it’s time to ask for assistance in managing your finances. It can be hard to keep up with credit card statements, bank statements, utility bills and notices from the IRS. If this is becoming overwhelming for you, address the problem immediately by having a trusted loved one or a fiduciary financial advisor assist you.

3. Collection agencies are calling.

When creditors and collection agencies begin calling repeatedly, it can be a sign that your finances are being mismanaged. If you thought you paid bills that you may have not paid or are forgetting to pay regular bills, ask for help from family, friends or a professional before the situation becomes out of control.

4. You are concerned you are mishandling your finances.

You know yourself and your finances better than anyone. If you become concerned that you are mishandling your finances or making large out-of-character purchases, ask for help. Ask for help from family and start the ‘tough conversation’ about how you’d like to deal with aging and your finances. Yo can also connect with a trusted financial advisor to discuss your financial concerns and have accountability and oversight to keep your finances on track.

5. You are concerned you do not have enough money.

If the numbers are not adding up for you and you are becoming concerned you do not have enough money to retire the way you want to retire, it may be time to get help. When money becomes a point of anxiety, it can be a sign that financial problems are on the horizon. If you start scraping expenses and declining social invitations because of the cost, let someone know about your fears and get a plan in place to calm your anxiety and take control of your financial situation.

6. You are worried you are, or will become, a victim of financial fraud.

If your finances are becoming out of control, you may be more susceptible to becoming a victim of financial fraud. If you have fallen prey to a financial scam like an investment scheme or fraudulent sweepstakes, or have wired money to an unknown person, tell a loved family member immediately. If you are concerned that you are at risk or being targeted by a scammer, let someone know who can help you distinguish between a real life investment opportunity and a scam.

Having accountability and oversight of your finances is a sign of strength and wisdom. Whether it’s a trusted family member or a fiduciary financial advisor, taking the initiative to find someone who has your best interests in mind can help protect you and your finances from the risk of financial mismanagement that can come with aging.

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