8 Pragmatic Ways to Invest $10,000

Invest $10,000

If you go out seeking financial guidance, the one piece of advice you will receive from everyone without fail is going to be about the significance of investments. But, does the word ‘investment’ evoke pictures of men in suits, stock tickers, and million-dollar deals in your mind? Does it make you wonder how and where to begin investing when you do not have a lot of money to spare?

So here we go – here are some useful tips on how you can start investing in a practical manner with a reasonable amount, say, $10,000.

Reduce Your Debt

If you are carrying a high-interest consumer debt, one of the most pragmatic investments would be to use the $10,000 to pay off or reduce that debt. Consumer debt or credit card debt, carrying a high interest rate, is the scourge of sensible wealth creation. If you are making minimum payments on your credit card outstanding bills, you will end up paying a staggering amount of money in compounded interest.

Savings Account

You can open a high-yield savings account that will earn you a significantly higher rate of interest than a regular savings account. An online bank that does not require a minimum balance in a savings account, would be the pragmatic and safe choice. You can start generating interest on your entire balance without taking any undue risk with your investment. With that said, these banks have a provision for insuring your account with FDIC insurance up to $250,000.  

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

If you can commit your funds for a specific period of time, a Certificate of Deposit (CD) may be a more practical investment for your $10,000, with a higher yield in terms of the interest which is ideal when energy costs are increasing as they are now. You must be aware that any premature withdrawals might attract a penalty, and you will need to stay invested for the precise number of months you agreed to, while making the deposit. You can choose the tenure for a term CD, which could be a few months and up to five years.

Real Estate

Investments in real estate are popular with investors because of their immense potential for wealth gain which is fantastic during periods of inflation which is the case in 2021. Although it might seem that investing in real estate requires a great deal of money and may not be feasible with just $10,000 in your pocket, there are new and affordable ways like crowdfunding to invest in real estate. With crowdfunded real estate investments, you can generate a passive income without worrying about property maintenance, tenant management, or litigation issues. Experienced real estate investment teams handle all the nitty-gritty like screening potential borrowers, managing renters, and repairing or upgrading the properties.

401k Plans

With 401k plans, you enjoy tax benefits as you pay taxes only when you contribute, thus reducing your taxable income. This is a Godsend to hear for many because taxes may be increasing on Americans who are already dealing with higher gas prices and higher costs of goods. With that said, it’s one of the easiest options to begin investing in a small or moderate way, and if your employer offers to make a contribution to match your first investment, you can start with an adequate amount that they are willing to match. Most 401k plans offer stocks, index funds, and retirement plans. 

Index Funds

The prices for individual shares, especially the blue-chip ones, may seem too high for you when you are thinking of investing just $10,000. To begin with, and with a moderate sum to invest, one of the better ways to invest is with an index fund. The funds keep costs low as they work in tandem with the market benchmarks, thus avoiding any speculative practices. The minimum threshold to invest in some of these funds is quite low, making $10,000 an adequate amount of money to begin investing with. The low costs, simplicity, and diversified portfolios make index funds a safe and pragmatic investment choice.

Robo-Advisors

There are fully automated Robo-advisor platforms that take into account your investment goals and your risk appetite to select a mix of funds for investing your money. If you want to invest your money without putting in the effort and time needed to ensure a balanced investment portfolio, this might be the pragmatic choice for you. Most of these platforms charge an advisory fee of around 0.25 percent per annum, and you can open an account for very little, sometimes as low as $1. 

Business Bonds

You can begin investments from as little as $10 in some of the small business bonds, which also yield a return that is higher than investments in most other brands. The lure of a higher yield also entails higher risk, so you must be clear about the extent of exposure you are willing to accept in pursuit of your pragmatic investment goals. Look for business bond investment propositions backed by collateral to cut down on the risk factor.

10 Wealth Creation Principles That Always Work

Wealth

A lot of people mistakenly assume that true wealth is simply growing your financial net worth. If you think like that, you could not be more wrong. Wealth is a balanced and holistic concept. In this post, we have listed 10 principles that can help you in achieving true wealth in a deeply personal as well as a purely financial sense.

1. Be Deeply Motivated

You cannot sit back and let luck take over when you want to build wealth. Your motivation needs to come from somewhere deeper than regular external trappings. You need to find a cause that will transform your life and drive you to overcome all obstacles which keep you from attaining financial freedom. Internally driven goals can be:

  • Charity
  • Freedom
  • Growth
  • Leadership

2. Add Value to Whatever You Come Across

Everyone is better off when they add value to the world. Giving more will only help you in the long run. This is an important step in building true wealth. You can greatly improve your life when you help others get better. Exploitation may bring you initial riches, but they won’t provide fulfilment and happiness.

3. Don’t Compromise on Integrity

People think they need to sell their soul to get rich. That’s not true. You don’t need to do things that would prevent you from meeting your father’s eye. You don’t need to harm others, encroach on their property, or violate moral law despite what we may see the FBI doing and all those rioters undermining their own cities. You don’t need to lie, cheat, insult, or damage the environment in your pursuit of wealth – we’ve seen that too much in certain cities in America that many people have moved away from.

You don’t even have to stretch the truth even though we see that all the time in California and New York politics and the White House. Never compromise on your integrity for expediency. There is no amount of money that can replace a clear conscience, a good night’s rest and a peaceful mind.

4. Be Brave and Courageous

You need to have courage to be responsible and a self-starter. You need to be brave to develop new skills and walk new paths. Courage is needed to put extra efforts for standing out from the crowd. In short, you cannot build wealth if you don’t have what it takes.

5. Stay Disciplined

Wealth is an accumulated mass of many small things that are compounded together over a person’s lifetime. Your daily habits play an important role in making and breaking your success. Investing, reinvesting, saving and growing your business and financial intelligence are vital to building wealth. You need to be consistent and persistent in your efforts. You risk falling prey to procrastination without discipline in your life.

6. Don’t Indulge in Conspicuous Consumption

Wealth is not instant gratification. Instead, you become wealthy when you invest your today’s wealth for a more comfortable tomorrow. You should consider living modestly in terms of time, energy, and money. Happiness is not directly related to material trappings. They only keep one from fulfilling their purpose. You have a decision to make every day – consume today or be wealthy tomorrow.

7. Create Supportive Environment

Life has an endless stream of distractions that can sidetrack your plans for building wealth. You can overcome these distractions with focused, persistent and consistent action. The best way to do this is by creating a support system which helps keep you focused on your financial goals.

Your relationships, family environment, financial habits, work environment, and daily rituals should be designed proactively for keeping you interested in creating wealth. They should support and reinforce your plans.

8. Build Wealth by Applying Leverage

You cannot get wealthy on your own. You cannot build wealth by trading time for riches. You need to work smarter instead of harder. These are a few principles of leverage you need to apply:

  • Marketing Leverage
  • Network Leverage
  • Knowledge Leverage
  • Financial Leverage
  • Time Leverage
  • Systems and Technology Leverage

9. Make Your Wealth Work

Wealth is not a one-off standalone concept. It is similar to a business entity. You need to run your money the way you would run a business. Use competitive advantage, accountability, accurate record keeping and leverage to get where you want.

10. You Don’t Possess Wealth

You need to understand that you are a steward to your wealth and not the owner. You would eventually need to move it to others. Money comes with tremendous responsibility. You need to ensure that you create maximum benefit for others who come across the wealth created by you. This can be done using your temporary stewardship wisely.

9 Ways to Spend Your Money Wisely

spending money

Are you expecting to receive some money? What are your plans for it? You can always splurge these surplus funds on a luxury trip or buy an expensive gadget. But there are smarter ways to spend your money which will give you both peace and happiness. These are a few options for you to consider.

1. Get Rid of that Pesky Debt

One of the best ways to employ money you didn’t expect is to use it to pay off your debts. This can be student loans, regular bills, or credit cards. Debt repayment is really the best return on money. Typical credit cards carry a 15% interest annually. You could save that amount and make your wealth grow by paying off the cards.

2. Spend it On Job Training or Education

You are the greatest asset to invest in. Job training and education are more often than not required for personal and professional growth. You may finally get that promotion you were eyeing by completing that certification. People that love their jobs and are satisfied with their career growth tend to be happier.

3. Build Your Emergency Nest

It can be a true nightmare to have to pay for a major expense when you least expect it. But, there is nothing you can do to prevent emergency situations. If you have a medical bill or a car repair, you will have to pay for them. You can use your additional money to create an emergency fund.

You should also think about making monthly contributions to the emergency fund. Tax refunds are the best way to jump start savings funds. Think about your emergency funds as buffers. You can also earn some interest by parking the rainy-day fund in a savings account.

4. Spend Freely on Hobbies

When was the last time you entertained yourself actively without looking at a screen or doing something where content was shoved down your throat? There are times when you want to Netflix and Chill, but you should consider using the extra money to pick up a hobby.

Think about whatever you like and invest in it. It could be purchasing a new music instrument, enrolling into language class, buying tools to finally build that tree house or new utensils for baking.

5. Plan a Vacation

You should have at least one decent holiday in a year. This is to keep you healthy and happy, both physically and mentally. Holidays are expensive. But, you don’t have to mess up your financial goals. You can utilize a little bit of the surplus fund or use the entire amount to pamper yourself and your loved ones.

6. Make the Money Work

You may consider investing in financial markets. You can create a comfortable retirement fund by starting right away. It is never too late to start planning for the future. Here’s a tip – never place all your money in individual stocks if you are not a diligent investor. Instead, you may want to play around using exchange traded funds and mutual funds to spread the risk a bit because in this violent world with crime going up – we are all already taking enough risk.

7. Buy Those Healthy Meals

Healthy food costs money. If you have the cash, you should consider taking a step in the healthy direction. Go organic. While you are at it, you may want to buy a gym membership as well. You will automatically start feeling better when you eat healthy. Health is something nobody really appreciates until they lose it. Using your money towards taking care of your health is a poignant way to spend it even when food costs are going up.

8. Go Have Fun

Live a little with your windfall. You are allowed to have fun. But, before you think about spending it on stuff, ask yourself whether you really need more stuff. Won’t you rather spend the money on experiences? Maybe take a rollercoaster ride at the local fun park or throw a party for your friends. You could also just use it at a spa to give yourself a memorable experience.

9. Visit Friends and Family

Satisfying relationships and happiness are correlated. But, it is expensive maintaining good relationships with family and friends. We all have family members or friends that moved away and never visited again. You still love them. You are still in touch with them through digital mediums. Why don’t you go visit them?

Annuity vs. Mutual Fund: Which Makes More Sense For Retirees?

investment options

Two of the most prevalent investment options for retirees are mutual funds and annuities. Like all financial and investment products, investing in either of these options comes with a set of benefits and drawbacks.

Let us discuss in detail and try to find out which one of these two investment options makes sense for you if you are about to retire.

What is an Annuity?

In an annuity, you can invest an amount of money, as a lump-sum payment or in parts, as a part of a contract between you and your insurance company. In return, you can choose to receive guaranteed proceeds either for a fixed tenure or for as long as you live. Whether the payments start immediately or after a fixed period, depends on the terms and conditions of the annuity you invest in.

Based on the likely rate of return, annuities broadly fall into two types of categories, namely, fixed annuities and variable annuities.

Fixed Annuity

A fixed annuity, true to its name, provides an assured return for the tenure of the contract. The insurance company guarantees reimbursement in advance, regardless of the market performance.

Variable Annuity

The variable annuity payouts are neither fixed nor assured. They may increase or decrease based on the market performance.

A key advantage of annuities is that investors defer taxes on interest, dividend, or capital gains for the duration of time their money is in the annuity. The taxation, at withdrawal, is only on the capital gains and not on the amount contributed towards the annuity. Also, as their name suggests, the annuities can be annuitized. You can make a guaranteed income stream for a fixed period.

Annuities are basically insurance products and not investment securities and hence the insurance companies provide the guarantees to back them. However, you should keep in mind that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates only the variable annuities and not the fixed ones.

Annuities are a useful means to defer taxes on investments and generate assured regular income in retirement which is even more vital in a rising cost and energy environment because of new policies.

What Is a Mutual Fund?

In a mutual fund, investment companies collect money from investors and invest it on their behalf. The money goes into a mix of investment securities and money market instruments to maximize returns.

You can set up and use a 401(k) account, a brokerage account, or an individual retirement account (IRA) to invest in mutual funds. Investment specialists and money managers run mutual fund portfolios and are responsible to generate the maximum possible returns for their investors consistently.

There are several types of mutual funds, each based on its investment strategy and the nature of securities that it invests in:

  • Equity Funds invest entirely in stocks
  • Index Funds imitate the investment mix of a market index, and their performance is directly linked to that of the index
  • Exchange-Traded Funds trade on stock exchanges
  • Money Market Funds invest in debt instruments
  • Fixed Income Funds invest in bonds
  • Balanced Funds invest in both stocks and bonds
  • Sector Funds invest in a particular sector
  • Global Funds invest in overseas markets

Annuity or Mutual Fund: Factors to Consider Before Investing

Here is a comparison that may help you choose between the two types of investments:

Safety

If you do not foresee having a steady income post-retirement, a fixed annuity may be the best option for you. In a fixed annuity, the insurance company guarantees to pay you a particular amount until the end of your contract period. Variable annuities do not guarantee a specific amount, but some may have a minimum rate of return guaranteed by the insurance provider.

With mutual funds, there is no guaranteed income. The rate of returns on the money you invest varies a great deal depending on the market performance.

Expenses

Annuities have some of the highest associated expenses among the investment products.

Mutual funds, especially index funds, are very low on expenses.

Tax-Deferral

Tax on any income from annuities is deferred until the time of withdrawal. On withdrawal, only the capital gains are taxable.

In mutual funds, you are liable to pay taxes on dividends and capital gains. However, if you invest through an individual retirement account (IRA) or a 401(k) account, you are liable to pay tax only at the time of withdrawal.

Return on Investments

Mutual funds may offer variable returns based on market performance, while annuities offer assured returns. On the other hand, there are many charges and fees associated with the annuities, which, when deducted from your gains, tend to make the returns on investment much lower. 

Liquidity

With mutual funds there is no lock-in period, making it easier for you to sell and exit anytime you wish. 

With annuities, however, there can be a lock-in period, as long as 10 years sometimes. Any early withdrawal can attract high surrender charges which hurts even more in a slow growth or no growth economy.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for absolute safety, annuities are the best option for you. But if you do not mind some added risk with the potential to earn higher returns, you should invest in mutual funds. 

9 Worthwhile Ways to Spend Your Money

Spend Your Money

It can be tempting to spend all your money on a fancy new something or a big night out. However, there are several smarter ways of spending the cash you have. You may want to consider the fact that the way you spend your money may affect the level of your happiness. You may think that buying that large screen TV or a bigger car is a worthwhile purchase, but it may not provide you the most smiles for your buck.

These are a few worthwhile ways of spending your money.

1. Pay off Your Debt

The best way to spend your money is often the easiest and something that will help you in the long run. You should pay off your student loans, credit card debt, and other bills which may have increased during the Covid-19 or Wuhan virus pandemic. Debt repayment often offers the best return on money. You need to know that the typical credit card may have a 15% interest in a year. This may not seem like the most exciting way of spending your money, but you would appreciate this in the long run. It is a win-win situation to not think about paying more interest while reducing your debt.

2. Spending on Hobbies

Passive forms of entertainment will only get you so far. You may want to relax in front of the TV (Bosch, 24, Ray Donovan) sometimes, but you shouldn’t be habitual of it. Try spending more on yourself and in developing hobbies. You can always buy board games, tools, or a musical instrument to get the creative juices flowing.

3. Spending on People You Love

Money can buy a lot of happiness as long as you know the people you want to spend it on. Satisfying relationships, happiness and gifts are strongly correlated. It can be expensive maintaining relationships with family and friends. For instance, if your family doesn’t live close to you, you could seriously drain your savings visiting them which is not good when energy and food prices are increasing because of current policy. Being invited to an offbeat wedding is another way of losing a lot of money.

4. Spend on Job Training or Education

You are the greatest asset you can invest on. Job training and education are often essential for getting the job you want. This may also help in seeking promotions at your current work. You may find this obvious, but if you are satisfied with your job, you would anyway tend to be happier.

5. Purchase Sporting Goods

Exercise and happiness go hand in hand with one another. It is scientifically proven that exercise releases endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that makes you feel good. Additionally, being physically fit is just going to make you feel better on top of regular prayer.

6. Taking a Vacation

Everybody requires a decent holiday at least once a year. This is to ensure that you break the monotony. However, you should know that holidays can get expensive really quickly. Your financial goals may get messed up if you don’t plan for the vacation. However, holidays are one of the best ways to spend your money on.

7. Eating Healthy

Healthier food is definitely more expensive than regular food. But, this is an expense that makes sense. You would feel better when you eat healthier making the additional payment worthwhile. Health is something you would miss only when you are not longer fit. It is better to be proactive and take care of yourself.

8. Saving for an Emergencies

Another way you can make use of extra cash is by creating an emergency fund. Life doesn’t always work out the way you hoped it would. By creating an emergency fund, you can have access to quick cash whenever you need it. The minimum amount you should put in your emergency fund should be at least $1,000. The average person needs this kind of money if they are without work.

9. House Remodeling

Investing in your home will bring you the same happiness that investing in yourself would. A house is one of the largest financial assets that a person may own. You could use any money you have saved up to beautify the outside of your home. You could also add energy efficient features to your house. Improving your home is a sound investment and will increase the quality of your life. This can improve your financial future by boosting the resale value of your house and perhaps even make a friend or relative a little envious along the way! Nothing wrong with that!

3 Things Money-Saving Experts Believe Are Worth Splurging On

Things worth splurging on

Saving money doesn’t require you to live a life of deprivation or becoming a stingy spender, thinking a million times even before spending on essentials. What’s the point of earning money when you can’t live a comfortable life?

Financially sound people are smart spenders. They know where to become thrifty and what things are worth splurging on. To help you learn the art of smart spending, here we’re highlighting some of the things that even money-saving experts believe deserve to be splurged on:

1. Things That Can Improve Work Performance

Whether it’s something as simple as a planner or as extensive as a good laptop, career counseling, or courses to improve or learn new skills, experts believe that anything that can help improve your performance at work is worth spending on. For people who work from home, this could also mean investing in high-quality home office furniture and a reliable and efficient internet connection.

2. Services That Help Save Time

In today’s fast-paced world, most of us struggle with hectic schedules. In such a scenario, it’s worth paying for services that you may not consider necessary to make sure you invest your time and effort where it’s needed the most. These may include getting groceries delivered to your home, sending your clothes for laundry, or hiring a house cleaner.

3. Good Experiences

No material possessions can give you the pleasure that comes with good experiences. Invest in experiences that make you feel happy, relaxed, and help improve your health and well-being. These may include traveling, going to a spa, joining a club where you get to spend time with like-minded people, or getting a gym or sports club membership. In today’s highly stressful life, it’s worth splurging on experiences that make you feel alive, happy, and relaxed.

Whether you’re a thrifty spender or on a savings spree, don’t hold back from spending on things that can improve your health, well-being, and quality of life and help make it a little less stressful. Consider them investments rather than expenses and splurge on them if and when required.  

Image Credits

 Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

4 Budgeting Tips You Need to Follow

Budgeting tips for beginners

Do you hate budgeting because you think it robs you of your freedom to spend your money?

Well, you’re not alone. But it doesn’t mean you’re right.

By making you create a spending plan for the month, budgeting actually ensures that you’ll always have enough money to spend on things you want. It is the best way to stay out of debt or pay off what’s due on you.    

Here are some practical budgeting tips to help you get started.

1. Start from Zero

If you want to stay on top of your personal finances, creating a zero-based budget is the way to go. This means you should get a big fat zero when you subtract your expenses from your income. Simply put, you must assign each dollar to something before the month even starts.

Start by calculating your monthly expenses and subtract the amount from your income. If you get a negative value, bring your costs down. You can start a side hustle or sell some items if you need extra money. In case you have a few dollars left, they can go into savings.

2. Set Your Priorities Straight!

No month is the same as the last, which means you’ll have to figure out a spending plan for each month. Some months you’ll be spending on home and car maintenance and other routine expenses, and other months, you may be saving for special occasions or vacations.

When you set priorities for a month, giving and saving should always come first. Then come food, shelter, utilities, clothing, and transportation. Once these categories are sorted, move on to others.   

3. Pay Your Debt

One of the most important budgeting tips is to set aside your debt amount first. Pay off what’s due as fast as you can so that you can have complete control over your money.   

4. Create a Plan and Stick to It

To eliminate stress from the equation, pick specific dates for your expenses. Follow the plan religiously and track your progress. If you’re afraid of overspending, try the envelope technique and use cash for each category.

Budgeting doesn’t mean you can’t spend as you will. With these budgeting tips, get ready to manage your money in a smarter, more efficient manner!  

5 Tips and Tricks to Save Money on Groceries Every Month

Tips to save on groceries

For most of us, groceries take up a major chunk of monthly expenditures and often exceed the dedicated food budget. We may put the blame solely on the increasing food prices. However, the truth of the matter is that we are also almost equally responsible for high grocery bills. If you also struggle to stay within your food budget limit, here are some simple yet effective tips and tricks to save money on groceries each month:

1. Compare Prices Online

Browse the websites of different grocery stores and compare prices for various items to find out which store is offering the best prices before visiting. You can also download price comparison apps to find the cheapest grocery store in town.

2. Plan Your Meals and Prepare List Accordingly

The best way to ensure that you only buy things you will use is to plan your meals for the week and prepare the list of items that you need accordingly. This will not only help reduce the grocery bill but will also avoid food waste.

3. Check Your Pantry

We often buy things at grocery stores making assumptions that we have run out of them. But, our guesses do not always turn out to be true. Often, we find things lying at the back of the pantry, hidden from your view. Therefore, it’s important to always check your pantry before going for grocery shopping.

4. Buy in Bulk

If you have a big family, buying in bulk can help you save a good amount of money, especially online. However, be careful when bulk buying and make sure to only buy things that you are certain of consuming, such as flour, rice, or meat.

5. Scan the Aisles before Buying

Before you grab a product from the center racks of aisles, always scan them from top to bottom. You will likely find better-priced items, most probably on the bottom shelves. Grocery stores have the strategy of placing renowned, pricier brands at eye level, in aisles, to increase their sales.

These tips and tricks may sound too simple, but they’re tried and tested. Use these tips to reduce your grocery bill without compromising on your needs.

Image Credits

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

3 Ways to Save Money in Everyday Life

Tips to save money

Do you struggle to save money? Then you’ve come to the right place.

The idea is to not make a big deal out of it. Practice these money-saving hacks on a day-to-day basis, and before you know it, you will have saved more than you could ever have with your piggy banks.

1. Always Make a List

Are you a shopaholic who seems to impulse buy a lot? Or do you find a use of everything you set your eyes on? Here’s a trick, as old as time, and has always worked. A list!

Every time you realize you have run out of something, add it to the list. Before leaving the house, make sure everything you need is there and then stick to it. The same goes for everything you are enthusiastic about, such as books, makeup, snacks, etc.

2. Stick to Cash

At the beginning of every month, take out cash that you are budgeted to spend and leave the savings alone. If possible, hide your credit card in the deep recess of your wallets only for emergencies.

Paying with cash limits and helps you stick to the budget.

3. Change a Few Small Habits

Your little habits can save you tons of cash in the long term. Do you eat out twice every week? Change it to one. Do you buy water bottles frequently, which end up adding to a small amount? Start carrying your water bottle everywhere, ride a bike, shop on sales, turn off the switch, keep your thermostat in check and rely on windows, fresh breeze, warm sweaters, and a heavy blanket.

With these little hacks, not only will you end up saving money, but you’d also end up improving your quality of life.

Image Credits

Photo by Andre Taissin on Unsplash

Financial Planning And Strategies For Your Elderly Parents

Financial Planning

The 65-and-older population has seen rapid growth since 2010, as baby boomers born in the two decades after the second world war begin to gray. Based on the US Census Bureau reports, the country had more than 54 million residents aged 65 years and older as of July 1st, 2019.

The day may not be far when your aging parents are unable to take care of their own financial duties. Your parents might go through a deterioration of their cognitive abilities as well as a risk of falling prey to scammers looking to swindle them out of their hard-earned savings.

The financial responsibilities of your elderly parents need careful planning on your part.

Here we discuss some of the steps you can take to manage your parents’ finances.

Start the Conversation with Your Parents

Your parents may not need your help right now, but that should not stop you from starting a dialogue. As per the National Institute on Aging guidelines, you will need your parents’ written consent in advance to discuss their personal financial and medical matters with financial representatives, doctors, and Medicare executives.

Starting a conversation now will give a better idea of the degree of involvement expected from you, over time. Moreover, privacy laws may inhibit such conversations later.

Make Gradual Changes

They might need your help, but maybe hesitant to ask for it. The onus will be on you to be sensitive and work with them in a manner that takes care of their needs without making them uncomfortable.

Be wary of rushing in to take charge of your parents’ finances. Instead, extend your support only when needed at first, and then increase it gradually, so that it gives them time to be comfortable with the new arrangements.

Compile all the Important Documents

Take inventory of your parent’s account numbers, contacts, and legal documents. Prepare a list of insurance policies, certificates, deeds, and wills; and make sure that everything is up to date, and valid. While compiling this data, ensure the safety of all sensitive information and the security of the storage location.

Execute a Power of Attorney

A capable adult can sign a power of attorney to assign powers to another person to exercise choices and act on their behalf. A power of attorney can have a limited or broad scope, utility, or duration, and cover general, medical, or financial decisions.

A power of attorney on behalf of your parents provides you the legal authority to make the necessary decisions when your parents are not able to do so. An attorney conversant with elder law can help you to draft a power of attorney document according to your needs. These are the three documents you might need, to begin with:

A Durable Power of Attorney

This document appoints someone your parents can trust to look after their financial responsibilities should they be no longer capable to do so themselves.

A Health Care Proxy

Your parents can assign powers to a trusted individual to make medical decisions when they are incapable to do so.

A Will 

This legal document includes your parents’ wishes related to the division of their assets once they pass.

Executing these documents can be emotionally taxing, but you will need legal documentation if there is a sudden deterioration of your parent’s health, making them incapacitated to carry out these tasks.

Separate Your Finances

Avoid mixing your parents’ finances with your own, even if it seems convenient at the time. It is important to keep your funds and assets separate and not put your own financial and retirement goals in jeopardy while helping your parents.

Keep Your Loved Ones Informed

It’s vital to communicate with the other members of the family, especially siblings, yours as well as your parents’. This can reduce any chances of misunderstanding apart from the fact that relatives can extend their support in managing some of the responsibilities. 

Additional Practical Suggestions

  • Try to curtail your parents’ vulnerability to fraudsters by placing their phone number on the Do Not Call registry
  • Ensure the safety and security of all legal and financial documents
  • Keep copies of all financial transactions handled by you on your parents’ behalf
  • Make a budget and open a savings account
  • Consult an investment advisor for the assessment of your parents’ investments
  • Seek advice on when your parents should start withdrawals from their social security payments