If you or a loved one may require assistance or support in the future, engaging a financial advisor early can help to minimise last-minute panic, says Marcia Walsh of AFD Financial Solutions.
The decision to move from the family home into a serviced apartment or supported living apartment can sometimes be stressful for seniors and their families.
The catalyst for change can often come unexpectedly, in the form of a fall or sudden illness, and the pressure mounts quickly to research living options, complete complex paperwork, navigate the real estate market and agree on the way forward.
Marcia Walsh, an adviser at AFD Financial Solutions, says that one of the biggest mistakes families make is not talking about the future and leaving it too late to make decisions that may be inevitable.
“Broaching the topic of assistance for a loved one is often hard,” Marcia says.
“But those who are going to be making the decisions need to start the conversation sooner rather than later. A significant amount of stress can be relieved and families can focus more of their energies on helping Mum or Dad transition smoothly to their new home.”
However, as many families already know, starting the conversation early is often easier said than done. Some people find the prospect of moving into supported or assisted living confronting and they would rather avoid the subject for as long as possible.
At the same time, children can also disagree on what is best for their parents, and families with multiple siblings often run into trouble when perspectives are not aligned.
Marcia recommends involving professionals if problems or tensions arise.
“Financial advisors can assist with family concerns and, if required, can host round table meetings to alleviate family conflict,” she says.
“A financial advisor will listen to your plans and intentions for the future and help you to assess the best way forward.”
According to Marcia, retirement living or supported living can sometimes have complex fee structures and financial advisors can help clarify these things as well as assist with assets evaluation, estate planning, arranging funeral bonds, assessing fees, evaluating income for life expectancy, and securing disability trusts for children that need protection.
“You will need at least three consultations or more if you’ve never seen a financial advisor before,” Marcia says, adding, “and if you’re on your own, it’s also best to take a trusted friend or family member along.”
In addition to meeting with a financial advisor, Marcia encourages seniors and their families to research the living options that are available to them to see exactly what they want and whether it fits their budget.
“Visiting potential retirement facilities early and collecting information can be really helpful. If the time comes that you, or a loved one, needs to move, you know exactly what to expect and can relax knowing you’ve made the right choice,” she says.
Marcia Walsh is a Financial Advisor at AFD Financial Solutions in Adelaide and can be contacted on (08) 8132 2655 or via www.afdfin.com.au