How To Help Mom Retire With No Savings

I have financial power of attorney for my 59-year-old mother, who earns around $11 per hour and just manages to cover her $700 monthly rent and living expenses. I’m her only child and live in a region where the cost of living is low, while my income is decent. How can I effectively prepare for her financial needs as she ages, given that she essentially has no savings? I find myself increasingly anxious about this. What are your recommendations for long-term financial support?

Anthony F.

Your concern for your mother’s financial well-being is both touching and pragmatic. First, kudos for already having power of attorney—that’s a key step in managing financial affairs for a loved one. Let’s slice through your situation to dig out the most actionable advice.

  1. Emergency Fund: Build up a cushion for unexpected expenses. Aim for three to six months of her living expenses.
  2. Downsizing or Rent Support: Look into whether it makes sense to relocate her to a less expensive apartment or consider subsidizing her current rent from your income.
  3. Healthcare Strategy: Her benefits package likely includes some healthcare provisions, but as she ages, the likelihood of medical expenses popping up increases. Investigate additional insurance plans, especially ones focused on senior healthcare.
  4. Employment and Income: Depending on her health, investigate part-time or freelance opportunities that could be easier on her as she ages but still offer some income.
  5. Retirement Accounts: Traditional retirement accounts may offer limited utility given her age and income level, but a Roth IRA could still be beneficial. You can contribute to it yourself, and she won’t be taxed upon withdrawal.
  6. Legal Documents: Make sure her will, healthcare directives, and any other essential legal documents are up-to-date.
  7. Asset Review: Conduct a meticulous review of any assets she may have. Even something as simple as an old car can be sold to bolster her financial position.
  8. Your Own Financial Planning: Given you’ll be supporting her, don’t forget to make your own adjustments. Meet with a financial advisor to adapt your financial plans.
  9. Government Assistance: Look into any government programs or grants she might be eligible for such as Social Security, food stamps, or housing aid.
  10. Investment in Quality of Life: At this stage in life, the focus should also be on comfort and peace of mind. Put aside a small fund dedicated to enhancing her quality of life, be it leisure activities, travel, or simple luxuries.

By sowing the seeds now, you’re preparing for a future that offers your mother the respect and comfort she deserves in her later years. It may require difficult conversations and a bit of sacrifice on both ends, but the peace of mind it will bring is worth its weight in gold.

Leave a Comment