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Determine Expenses

I’m trying to get a better understanding of my mother’s expenses. Do you have a master list you usually work from?
Sue Ann in Tennessee, 56

Every situation is unique, but I start with the following list of monthly expenses from these common categories (and there may be others):

1. Mortgage and/or rent

2. Property taxes

3. Equity loans

4. Parking

5. Home maintenance

6. Condominium fees

7. Utilities

8. Phone

9. Water

10. Food

11. Car payments

12. Car maintenance

13. Department of Motor Vehicle fees

14. Gas

15. Clothing

16. Shoes

17. Medicines/prescriptions

18. Legal fees

19. Monthly memberships

20. Credit card debt

21. Annual credit card fees

22. Child support/alimony

23. Cleaners/laundry

24. Pet food and care

25. Car insurance

26. Boat expenses and insurance

27. Recreational vehicle expenses and insurance

28. Insurance for valuable collectibles such as coins, stamps, and art work

29. Disability insurance

30. Home renters insurance

31. Home owners insurance

32. Property insurance

33. Business insurance

34. Life insurance

35. Medicare insurance

36. Medicaid insurance

37. VA insurance

38. Long-term care insurance

39. Entertainment

40. Vacation and travel

41. Books

42. Subscriptions

43. Hair dresser and/or barber

44. Makeup

45. Jewelry

46. Cable TV

47. Liquor

48. Miscellaneous pocket cash

49. Manicures/pedicures

50. Facials

Many of today’s retirees are living ten years longer than they thought they would. This has created a difficult issue: They are outliving their resources. If you can avoid doing so, never cut the monthly budget so close that an unforeseen accident would ruin your mother’s finances. Also, be sure to provide for radical change like an accident or advanced disease by having adequate insurance.

Make sure all of your mother’s bills are paid on time. This process can be very time consuming. I always suggest hiring an elder care lawyer, accountant, or tax consultant to guide you through this often complicated process. It is well worth the cost to understand exactly how to manage all of the assets and papers in an appropriate and timely manner. Professional guidance may save your sanity in addition to saving your mother’s estate thousands of dollars.

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