Managing your money with memory loss

These five tips will help you manage your money when suffering memory loss.

Dementia is usually discussed in terms of health, but memory loss can also be a money matter – forgetting to pay bills or struggling to comprehend financial advice are some of the challenges that can arise when it comes to controlling your cash.

If you’re finding yourself becoming increasingly forgetful – or you notice a loved one is struggling – then tasks such as remembering to pay the bills may become a problem..

This can be a common scenario, so if you’re concerned about staying on top of your financial obligations, here are some strategies to ensure your money stays protected.

1. Simplify your finances
First of all, consolidate your transaction accounts so that you only have one to remember, and close any unnecessary credit cards or store cards. Then create a payment system that is easy to track – for example, keep a list of bills on the fridge and tick them off as you pay. Direct debits can also be useful.

2. Appoint a power of attorney and review your will
An ‘enduring power of attorney’ allows you to choose someone to manage your affairs in the event that you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. Review your current will or, if you don’t have one, it may be the perfect time to create one.

3. Sort your super
Unlike your other assets, your super account does not automatically form part of your estate, which means you cannot nominate the beneficiaries in your will. To take control of this, you need to make a binding beneficiary nomination through your super fund. If you have more than one fund, it’s a good idea to consolidate them to simplify maintenance. And if you have a self-managed super fund, you may want to reconsider your options, as it’s a complex process that could be affected by memory impairment.

4. Organise important documents
Whether for yourself or an appointed person, managing your financial affairs is much simpler if your documents are in order. Assemble your key personal information in one place (e.g. birth certificate, tax documents, insurance information, will), as well as any financial or health documents that may of relevance.

5. Protect yourself from financial abuse
Memory loss can make you vulnerable to exploitation from people around you and, as much as you may not like the idea, it’s important to safeguard yourself from the risk of financial abuse.

Read more at MoneySmart.

Do you suffer from significant memory loss? How have you managed to keep track of your finances?

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    COMMENTS

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    Rosret
    9th Aug 2016
    12:32pm
    All your suggestions are good. Unfortunately there is a pre-dementia period. That's when the individual appears to be managing fairly well on their own and is emphatically stressing their need for independence and managing to hide their mistakes from family.
    I have recently befriended such a person. That person is lucky to have found me.
    Technology may be our friend but not when the faculties are failing.
    To get the phone and laptop to work I have all the required passwords. After losing the bankcards so I have had to help activate the new ones. I have been asked to scan passports and all sorts of documents. I am blindly trusted! Luckily I am trustworthy.
    It bothers me so much that there are so many elderly people like this person out there who are " trusting someone" - virtual strangers.
    You can't block the charities from phoning so I have heard of a family member having to ring on someone's behalf and reverse a ridiculous donation. The conversation went like this: " Would you like to donate to xyz?" Reply, "Yes, how much do you think would be a reasonable donation?" Charity collector, " Most people are giving around $800!" Reply, "Ok put me down for that too."
    I don't know how you protect the individual from the beautiful Russian bride or the Nigerian lottery win or a cupboard full for towels from the Blind society. Its almost as though the internet and phone needs to be filtered through someone with power of attorney.
    Maybe we need some help from Google and the government here. Its a global minefield for those you don't know the pitfalls.
    johnp
    17th Apr 2018
    12:14pm
    your right in what you say Rosret. that issue of trust is going to be an increasing problem for the aging population and their finances especially. Almost like there needs to be a govt agency even if they take say 10% for their costs, Any suggestions ? One doesnt come to mind. Power of attorney doesnt insure against fin abuse.

    9th Aug 2016
    12:47pm
    Money memory loss when doing your income tax return can certainly be a challenge - one to see if you can get away with "forgotten" assets.
    Anonymous
    9th Aug 2016
    6:36pm
    not all of us are crooks!