Managing Your Money in Old Age

Declining financial abilities may not only result in a few unpaid bills but also leave you vulnerable to financial abuse and drain your nest egg.

(Image credit: Burlingham)

After Robyn Downing moved in with her ailing father in 2010, she gradually uncovered a financial quagmire. She found he had eight different checking accounts at four different banks. “He was writing a whole bunch of checks” to charities he’d never supported before, she says, and he hadn’t kept a checkbook register in two years. He owned several rental units, and one of his tenants hadn’t paid any rent in nine months, says Downing, a retired children’s theater director in Gladstone, Mo.

“He was really being taken advantage of financially,” says Downing, age 62, who estimates that her father lost roughly $50,000 before she stepped in to help. During the four years prior to her father’s death at age 91 in 2014, Downing consolidated his accounts at one bank, organized the bookkeeping for his rental units and discouraged his habit of giving his credit card number to anyone who called on the phone. “What a pain it was to try to straighten things out,” she says.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Eleanor Laise
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Laise covers retirement issues ranging from income investing and pension plans to long-term care and estate planning. She joined Kiplinger in 2011 from the Wall Street Journal, where as a staff reporter she covered mutual funds, retirement plans and other personal finance topics. Laise was previously a senior writer at SmartMoney magazine. She started her journalism career at Bloomberg Personal Finance magazine and holds a BA in English from Columbia University.