CPAs Can Shoulder Elders' Financial Burdens

Tim Watt  |  August 6, 2014

As a person gets older, the number of important financial decisions that he or she has to make increases. Older adults usually have higher medical bills than younger people, and even a healthy life carries with it more opportunities to make and to lose money as people accumulate both debts and assets. Managing the complex world of personal finance can be difficult for anyone, no matter their age or health status, but for a number of reasons financial planning becomes more complicated with age.

While adult children often help their parents monitor their money as they get older, the increasingly mobile society we live in is making it less common for entire families to stay in the same place as they get older. Many seniors are now turning to certified public accountants to help guide them through the myriad hurdles that accompany managing their personal finances.

No job too small
Some may shy away from hiring a CPA because they think that their own finances are too simple to defer to a professional. However, even a relatively small number of bills and accounts can pose difficulties to someone without experience. The great benefit of CPAs is that they have years of training and work to refer back to. No matter how minor or even how unusual a senior's financial matters may seem, the chances are good that a CPA has seen a similar situation before and knows how to handle it.

Even routine banking can be deferred to a CPA, according to HMWC CPAs & Business Advisors. The error that many people make is thinking that their concerns are too small to warrant involving a professional. However, CPAs who specialize in elder care know that medical problems or even just the normal effects of aging can make it a burden for some people to get to the bank and keep a checkbook in order. Especially for those who are experiencing cognitive decline or who have lost a spouse, the effort of keeping track of expenses and income can be overwhelming.

Diving in to the deep end
More complex matters, such as estate planning, can be colossal obstacles to people who have never had to manage more than their own savings account. For CPAs serving elder clients, such a service is commonplace. Some may choose to enlist the services of a CPA just so that they don't have to devote their own time to matters that a professional could handle more quickly and with less hassle.

Arranging housing
Even decisions about where to live can be handled by a qualified accountant, according to the American Institute of CPAs. Someone who has not had to deal with the world of retirement communities before may not even know the difference between choices such as assisted living and in-home care, but CPAs who work with seniors may serve as a guide. In addition to choosing which kind of retirement community is right for them, a CPA can help seniors explore the financial options and the levels of care that are available.