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Preparing for the Possible Loss of Financial Independence

A new study from the US has highlighted the importance of families working together to plan for a time when parents may no longer be able to fully manage their finances independently.

According to the research by Fidelity Investments, this is something most seniors would prefer to assume isn't going to happen to them, yet is highly likely, given that people are living longer and are more likely to experience the ailments that come with old age, including the possibility of dementia.

In fact, while only 9% of older adults (aged 50-80) surveyed felt they'd ever lose the ability to manage their day-to-day finances, 60% admit having witnessed it happen to a friend or family member—and 40% actually helped manage their own parents' finances.

Despite being a normal part of the aging process, a significant majority (60%) of older adults worry about burdening their families with the task of managing the finances. Parents might be reassured to discover that most adult children hardly view this as a burden. In fact, 80% of children very much want to be involved.

"The possibility of losing financial independence is something for which we all need to plan," explained Suzanne Schmitt, vice president of Family Engagement, Fidelity Investments. "That's why it's important for families to be in sync about what needs to happen in the event it's necessary to help take control of financial decision making for a loved one. By engaging in conversations now and having a strong support system in place, families can help loved ones gracefully transition into that next phase of their lives."

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