NEEDVILLE, Texas – It’s never easy keeping up with your finances and it’s never fun. For our parents who are aging, it can become an even bigger challenge, especially when it comes to managing their money and not getting ripped off by cyber criminals.
Joellen Michalec is a librarian from Needville. She got a frightening wake-up call regarding her own mother’s financial vulnerability when cyberthieves sent her mom a bogus email, pretending to be a close friend of hers who needed thousands of dollars wired to her in another country right away.
“She was more scared than anything ‘cause she truly thought her friend was in trouble,” Michalec recalled.
Luckily, Michalec found out about it before her mom could wire that money. It’s an issue that illustrates how all of us need to play a bigger role in helping our parents manage their money and finances.
KPRC 2′s Bill Spencer with ‘Spencer Solves It’ went to financial expert Richard Rosso to get five critical steps you can take to make sure no one gets your parent’s well-earned money.
1. Call you first
The first step is before sending anyone funds, tell them to call you first.
Russo said, “Tell them it’s okay, yeah bother me, Mom, bother me, Dad. Call me!”
2. Get financial power of attorney
Second, you want your parents to grant you financial power of attorney.
“Which means that we will be a second pair of eyes for that elderly person that needs help. The second pair of eyes means that you would be going through and looking for unusual activity,” Russo added.
3. How to become a financial power of attorney?
To get that, you’ll want to use your banking institution’s power of attorney document.
“Your brokerage will have one, your bank will have them, your credit card company,” he said.
4. Teach them about phishing
Next, teach your parents not to click on any links that are emailed or texted. Seriously, go to their house and teach them not to click the links.
“Your parents are clickers. They click on everything. You know, all the stuff you don’t click on... because you go, ‘Oh, click bate, not touching that.’ They touch it.”
5. Get a new computer
Lastly, make sure your parents’ computer is up to date with the latest cyber protection programs.
“Holidays are coming up. Best gift you can give them-- a computer,” said Rosso. “Get it, load it up with the right antivirus gear.”
One of the biggest hurdles for all of us to overcome when trying to help our parents with finances is the psychological barrier we have to cross. We know you’ve spent your entire life listening to them, but now it’s time for them to listen to you. The key is letting your parents know you’re not trying to take over their financial lives. You’re just trying to help out where you can.