Ask Joan: Financial Wellness
July 1, 2024

Q.  It seems like the costs of everything is increasing these days: food, clothing, transportation and so many other things. It’s difficult to keep my own household finances in place and now I’m trying to help my aging parents manage their expenses. Not only are they having a difficult time making ends meet, but I’ve also noticed they are incurring late fees on their credit cards because they forget to pay. Do you have any tips or resources that might help?

Joan Hatem-Roy, Chief Executive Officer

A. It sounds like this might be a good time for your parents to try a financial wellness check. Financial wellness refers to your ability to both understand what your income and expenses are, while also managing your money in a way that gives you peace of mind.

A financial advisor can work with you or your parents to fully understand your individual circumstances. If you can’t afford that right now, here are some good places to start:

  • Create an itemized list of all your income. This might include Social Security benefits, retirement savings, investment, and any other money you can rely on coming in each month.
  • Identify all your expenses. Include your mortgage or rent payments, groceries, prescriptions, and utilities. Don’t forget to also include money you spend on entertainment, charitable donations, and savings.
  • If your expenses exceed your income, think about whether there are some costs that you might cut or minimize. For example, many people have been able to save money simply by bundling their phone, cable, and internet bills under one provider.
  • Explore ways to increase your income. There may be other benefits that your parents are eligible for, including assistance with groceries or taxes.
  • Put bills on autopay. You can work with your utility companies to have the monthly bill automatically withdrawn from a checking account so that you don’t miss payments. Of course, you’ll want to review the bill each month first to make sure it is accurate.

This can all feel very overwhelming, both for you as a caregiver and for your parents. At AgeSpan, we have a financial resources program that can help. We can assist with budgeting, writing checks to get bills paid, and even provide education or workshops around financial exploitation, scams, and fraud. All these services are free and confidential.

To learn more or to speak with our financial resources team, give us a call at 800-892-0890.

Are you caring for an older adult or need help finding healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at You can also call 800-892-0890 or email

Joan Hatem-Roy is the chief executive officer of AgeSpan, which serves the following cities and towns: Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Boxford, Chelmsford, Danvers, Dracut, Dunstable, Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Marblehead, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Peabody, Rowley, Salisbury, Salem, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro, Westford, and West Newbury.

First published in the Eagle-Tribune.

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