Eldercare Financial Planning: Finding a Financial Advisor
Financial planning is complex and confusing. Add in the various senior care options, and assistance or benefit options and it may feel like a daunting task to plan for your senior’s financial future.
There are many public and private agencies that will offer financial planning assistance with costs ranging from free up to $5,000.
Free Financial Advice for Seniors
If you are a low-income senior looking for financial help, you may think there are no free resources to help you. But, that's not the case. There are actually a good number of free services, especially for seniors, to help you make sure you get the financial planning services you need. A few of these resources include:
- Banking Institutions - Most banks will offer no-charge financial planners to help bankers to go through financial history and goals. The advisors may make a commission on the services sold to you but are encouraged to give sound advice.
- AARP Foundation Tax-Aide - AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free tax preparation help to anyone and was created for adults age 50 or older. This volunteer-based program helps seniors prepare taxes that might be more complicated with retirement and benefits. Their IRS-certified volunteers will help you with your senior-related tax questions.
- Local Aging Agencies - Your local Area Agency on Aging will help you and your senior identify programs that they may qualify for. They often hold free financial seminars. They most likely have a lesser national knowledge, and more information regarding local assistance or programs.
- Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program - The federal government offers a program that provides free year-round tax advice for seniors as well as tax return preparation. Find a qualifying TCE program near you.
Medicaid planners can help families that are not eligible for their programs to reorganize their finances to be able to qualify for their services. They help protect a family home from Medicaid recovery, and may also manage finances to make sure that a healthy spouse will have sufficient income while their partner is receiving assisted or skilled care.
They may not be aware of other forms of assistance and may only Focus on Medicaid.
Eldercare Financial Advisors
There are eldercare resource planners that work with families to provide a whole view of possible financial assistance options for future scenarios of life care. They are relatively inexpensive, costing between $500-$1,500, but extremely thorough, focusing only on seniors.
They are able to provide a plan for seniors or their families, but cannot take action for the client.
Personal Financial Planners
Seniors are vulnerable to fraud and scams. You want to be sure that your financial advisor is certified with no violations. You can find a qualified planner in your local area from the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards or The Financial Planning Association.
You'll also want to make sure that your financial is working for your best interest. Look for “fee-only” financial advisors. They will work for your senior and are not compensated based on commission or kickbacks from products sold. This prevents a conflict of interest between the senior and the advisor.
Fee-based planners are compensated with a combination of fees and commission on products sold. Personal financial planners may cost anywhere from $2,500 and $5,000.
You can find fee-only planners at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) website.