Managing your own finances requires discipline, diligence, and organization. Creating your monthly budget may have almost become second nature. But, this monthly ritual may become much more challenging when you have to monitor your loved one’s finances.
Managing your loved one’s money can become quite challenging with their fixed income and variable costs of caregiving. Getting your arms around their daily expenses, medical bills, and prescription drugs costs can become quite challenging. Not to mention the change in you and your loved one’s relationship.
Thankfully online and smartphone-based apps can make budgeting much, much easier and even sometimes FUN.
The first step all experts agree on is to sit down with your loved one and begin to note all of their monthly expenses and income. Collect these amounts over a number of weeks and ensure that this record is accurate. This step may be awkward, especially if you are their son or daughter. But, as the financial records grow you will clearly be in a better position to HELP them manage their retirement.
These are just a few online and smartphone app budgeting services:
Mint.com is a free service that pulls all of yours and their accounts together into an easy to visualize platform. From there you can quickly see yours and their financial position. Mint can also make recommendations after monitoring the account’s activity.
Similar to Mint, LevelMoney is a free platform that streamlines your budget to keep you on financial track. It quickly will organize expenses, income, and investments all on one platform.
Quickly you may realize their largest monthly expense will be health care. There are a number of online resources and organizations to assist you in finding programs and deals to save you and them money.
Online Resources and Organizations
The National Council on Aging’s Benefits Check Up web resource will let you know what programs they may be eligible for and how to apply for these programs.
Research if your loved one is eligible for Medicare. Medicare recipients, if eligible, may receive a discount private prescription drug card. This card will quickly help with their monthly prescription budget. Visit Medicare’s website www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE to find out more information about this program.
Many states offer what is called Senior Health Insurance Counseling Programs (SHIPs). These programs offer specialized counseling for seniors. Find your State's SHIP Program.
Senior with lower monthly incomes may also be eligible for Medicaid in addition to Medicare. “Dually eligible” individuals would receive their prescription drug coverage through the Medicaid program. Unfortunately there are millions of qualified seniors that do not utilize this program, leaving millions of dollars on the table. Contact your state Medicaid office to find out more details about your state’s eligibility requirements.
Another online resource to help your loved one reduce their monthly medication bill is NeedyMeds.org. NeedyMeds connects pharmaceutical companies with qualified lower income seniors. Once qualified, the companies provide extremely discounted and sometimes free medication through this service.
We hope that these tools and resources can help you and your loved one stay on top of monthly expenses. Making this part of the caregiving duty easier, lets you spend more time and effort focusing on your loved one’s needs, and ALSO your needs.