Caring for elderly parents? Open a family account

If you find yourself caught between two financially dependent generations, you’re part of the “sandwich generation”.  Taking care of your own children while supporting your parents can put a serious dent in your budget, so financial planning is essential. Careful investing, diligent saving and opening a family account so you can better manage your parents’ financial care, are three ways you can successfully see to the needs of your dependents.

Aging is a natural and non-negotiable part of life. Taking care of your elderly parents could be the highest calling of your life, but the time and money it takes to do so can be stressful. If you have siblings who are capable of assisting financially, deposits can be managed easily with a group bank account, one of the most exciting options of an African Bank MyWORLD account.

Below are some of our most important tips for ensuring you’re prepared to care for your elderly parents:

  1. Save for your own retirement first

In order to help others, you need to help yourself first. It’s important to protect your finances, time and comfort. Now’s the best time to start saving and allow compound interest­ (the ability of your investments to generate earnings, which are then reinvested to produce their own earnings) to operate in your favour.

  1. Get out of debt

Most people are financially unprepared when it comes to providing care to their ailing parents. Pay off anything you owe so that you can lower your living expenses. Encourage your parents to do the same, if possible. This will not only lower their living expenses, but it will also free up some cash to save towards their retirement.

  1. Have a budget

The best tool to give you control over your finances is a budget. A budget allows you to make financial decisions at the start of each month, giving you the authority to choose where your currency should go. Create a caregiving budget and calculate what you spend on your parents’ needs. Asses your parents’ resources and how they might contribute.

  1. Investigate various investment options

Many parents of the “sandwich generation” move into their adult children’s homes. If your parents are in the fortunate position of owning a home of their own, consider either renting their house out so they can live on the rental income or selling their home to have access to the funds from the sale of the property. Speak to a qualified financial advisor for advice on short-term investment options that allow your parents’ money to grow with interest.

  1. Ask your siblings for help

Taking care of your elderly parents can be stressful, especially if you aren’t getting help from your siblings. Below are tips for getting support from siblings.

  • What do you really want from them? Before asking for their help, figure out how you would like them to assist. Improve the chances of getting help by asking clearly and directly for something specific.
  • Decide how to manage family financial contributions — An African Bank MyWORLD bank account holder can open a Power Pocket specifically for their elderly parents’ finances. As the Primary Account Holder, you can add up to 10 people to this account as Pocket Members. Each Pocket Member can make deposits into the Power Pocket account. They can also view the Power Pocket account balance online or through the African Bank mobile banking app, which means siblings will have an easy, birds-eye-view of their parents’ financial status.

You, as the Primary Account Holder, can then add one of your elderly parents as the Pocket User. This means that they can have their own debit card to handle day-to-day transactions, giving them a degree of independence.

  • Do you need emotional help? Taking care of your elderly parents could be lonely and isolating. Don’t hesitate to ask for emotional support if need be.
  • Be careful of how you ask for help. Don’t make your siblings feel guilty for not helping – it will only make them uncomfortable and defensive.
  • Seek professional help. Families often have long, puzzling histories that make communication complicated. Consider seeking professional help if family discussions keep turning into fights.

Thanks to increases in welfare and better healthcare, many people are living longer lives. This means that you should prepare for the fact that your elderly parents will be part of your life for many years to come. We are responsible for our elderly parents, just like they were responsible for us when we were younger.

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