Blogs by Betty Anne Grillo
Do your elderly parents have trouble paying their bills?
6/19/2012 11:00:39 AM
One of the toughest questions to ask
Do your elderly parents have trouble paying their bills?
It’s undoubtedly a tough question to ask them. Your parents have been the ones to guide you through times, and they developed a rapport with each one of their children based on respect. At this time in their lives, most retirees find it difficult to make ends meet. Commonly, their generation would not ask for help to tackle this type of problem. They may consider meeting obligations in a timely manner as a measure of their self-worth. Possibly one of your parents has passed on, leaving the other with one income to pay the bills. What is common now compared to even ten years ago, your parents may have gotten divorced from each other and are each facing their own budget issues. One income definitely is harder to stretch to the end of the month than two.
Let’s face it. The cost of everything has gone up and your parents probably live on fixed incomes. Even if there is no mortgage on their home, the real estate taxes are much more than they planned. If they rent an apartment, the costs the landlord incurs are also on the rise. Ultimately, those costs are passed on to each of the tenants. There is no easy fix to the financial problems that the elderly face.
The difficulty in determining whether or not your parents are in financial trouble is the mindset they share--their problems are no one else’s business. Yes, I know you are their son or daughter, but sharing financial information with others is foreign to the way they were raised. They might even continue to put on a happy face, even buying lavish gifts for the grandkids, when they truly don’t even have grocery money. Often their credit card balances are high, or even maxed out, because they charge their purchases at the grocery store. Sadly, it isn’t unusual for the elderly to suffer in silence because they are afraid to talk about the topic of money.
One way you can approach the subject is to bring up the difficulties your own family has encountered in making ends meet. Choose the right time to do this, and make sure that the discussion is held in a private setting. You may find that once the door has been opened to an honest discussion their situation might be much worse than you expected.
Take a breath, give them a hug and work together toward the solution. They already feel bad enough about their predicament. What they really need is reassurance and hope.
If you find that there is just too much debt to overcome at their income level, obtain my book: BANKRUPTCY FROM A TO Z: THE PATH TO FINANCIAL HOPE AND FREEDOM for yourself. Visit my website to read through the first chapter, then order the book so you can begin to understand how they feel. It is easy to read and will educate you about the financial and legal terminology involved. Reading my book will enable you to guide them in the right direction, and ultimately seek the advice of an attorney if needed. Difficult situations are overcome easily when you work as a team.
No blame—no guilt—no judgment. Become the captain of the ship so that you and your loved ones are able to navigate the rough waters ahead. All of this may make for some rocky times, but if you handle it correctly they will ultimately love you for it.
All my best!
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