Most of us will have some memory loss as we age. However, for some people, significant memory loss, arising from illnesses such as dementia, can be a problem. When it gets to the point where you are struggling to manage your finances it’s important to put some safeguards in place.
In this Blog we explain how to set up your finances so they can continue to be managed responsibly if you can no longer do this yourself.
Memory loss can make it difficult to stay in control of your money.
Things you found easy before – like tracking your spending, checking your bank statements or investments, or even paying your bills – may become challenging or you may just not remember you need to do them.
You may also find it hard to take in and absorb information from banking staff or your financial adviser or accountant.
All these factors mean you may not be making the best financial decisions or be able to keep up with the regular maintenance of your money. To help recognise the signs of dementia, visit Is it dementia, a resource created by Alzheimer’s Australia.
Planning for the future is important for everyone, but this is especially true as you age. Although it can be confronting to think about what you want to happen when you can no longer make decisions for yourself, putting a plan in place is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out. It also relieves your loved ones of the stress of having to make these decisions for you.
To help you stay in control of your money as you age, and make it easier for your loved ones to help you, here are some ways you can simplify your finances:
- Appoint an enduring power of attorney (someone you can trust to look after your affairs)
- Update your will
- Get your super in order
- Sort out your important documents
- Consolidate your transaction accounts into one.
- Reduce the number of credit cards and store cards you have.
- Close your cheque account.
- If you have super in more than one account, consolidate them into a single account.
- Put a list on your fridge of what your regular bills are and when they come in (e.g. phone monthly, electricity quarterly, rates annually).
- Put a ‘tick’ beside each bill once you’ve paid it.
- Put unpaid bills on the fridge and take them down when they have been paid.
- Consider whether you would like to set up direct debits to pay some of your bills.
Some useful references for further reading: