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Ask Chuck: Financial Concerns for Elderly Parents

by Chuck Bentley March 15, 2019

Dear Chuck,

I don’t know how my parents are going to afford to live their projected lifespan. If they are concerned, they sure don’t live like it. I’m saving and investing as much as I can, but I’m not sure I could adequately come to their rescue.

Need Hope

Dear Hope,

I understand your concern. Americans are living longer and many costs are greater than they anticipate. In addition, some don’t have life insurance or a will.

Aside from catastrophes that lead to debt, many elderly Americans are financially trapped by the pleasures they pursued in this life rather than experiencing the joy promised by Christ.

Undisciplined spending causes serious issues that can last a lifetime. Many in our nation rely on easy credit and give in to their desires without any thought of the future. As a result, we have a population mismanaging money, not giving, not saving, carrying debt, and totally unprepared for emergencies.

The 2018 Retirement Savings survey conducted by found that 42 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved. The good news is that the majority has at least $10,000 saved! But 14 percent have nothing saved. conducted a poll and reported that 65 percent of Americans with debt do not know if or when they will get out of it. Twenty-five percent of them expect to die with debt. Their most common debt is as follows:

  • Mortgage Debt (54%)
  • Credit Cards (53%)
  • Auto Loans (47%)
  • Student Loans (21%)
  • Medical Debt (13%)
  • Personal Loan (11%)

The high level of credit card debt is a major red flag. High interest rates can grow a person’s total debt to staggering levels. One reason why many carry credit card debt is because of emergencies and the lack of funds to cover things like car repairs, medical bills, or home repairs.

If you find yourself (or your parents) in overwhelming credit card debt, contact our partners at Christian Credit Counselors. They have a wonderful staff of professional and compassionate counselors who specialize in helping you pay off your debt in full 80% faster, which means you save significant time and money.

Retirement Debt

People should avoid retiring with debt, but 30 percent of seniors still carry a mortgage. It is vital that people prepare years ahead of retirement. This requires a disciplined lifestyle of sacrifices, lifestyle changes, and priority adjustments. It demands a realistic look at finances and a working knowledge of proper stewardship so that final years can be spent in financial peace. Unfortunately, many don’t prepare in time.

It is irresponsible, selfish and unnecessary for people to die expecting someone else to pay their bills. Sacrificing desires and living contrary to the world is how our forefathers were able to leave an inheritance for their children and die in peace. It is heartbreaking to see the stress brought on families because of debt. Unfortunately, many are unaware of what debt really costs. There is the dollar cost, but there are also psychological costs which affect physical health.

Many are financially unprepared because we are living longer. Consider these costs:

And, here are a few additional threats to retirement:

  • Boomerang children
  • Caring for elderly parents
  • Absence of life insurance
  • Medical crises
  • Retirement scams

What the Bible Says

The Bible does not prohibit the use of credit, but there are three basic principles in how it should be used.

  1. Credit should never be normal for God’s people
  2. Credit should never be long-term
  3. Do not sign surety – an obligation to pay without an absolutely certain way to pay

Few people who accumulate overwhelming balances set out to do so – the cycle of credit card debt is often caused by something like job loss or medical bills and perpetuated by a lack of savings or margin. Our partners at Christian Credit Counselors work every day to help individuals and families lift the burden of credit card debt. If you need help, or think you may need help, contact them today.

Imagine the peace of facing death knowing you’ve taken care of your finances. You can bless those you love and the body of Christ by preparing ahead and living a self-controlled life.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22 ESV)

And Paul said: Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8 ESV)


Originally published on the Christian Post, March 15, 2019 

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