How to Talk to Your Aging Parents About Their Finances

How to Talk to Your Aging Parents About Their Finances

June 01, 2021
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Talking to your aging parents about their finances, is one conversation that calls for tact and sensitivity. When you notice that your parents are slowing down because of age or illness, it’s time to reach out to them and offer support.

You can initiate the conversation even if they seem fit and independent. The important thing is to discuss their finances and caregiving preferences as a family. If you have siblings, consider having a conversation with just the siblings. Make sure everyone is on the same page and when the time comes, everyone will be willing to help.

When to reach out. If you live far away from your aging parents, try having the talk during your next trip home. Consider bringing up the subject in a phone call prior to your trip, or if you live in town, your next visit. Consider a non-threatening approach such as mentioning that you have been thinking about your future financial plans and want to go over some matters that involve them.

Set the tone. Be respectful and non-judgmental. Remain so, even if your parents seem hesitant to talk. Stay positive. Present the discussion as a way of exploring together how to make their lives more manageable. Let them know you are available to help them when they need it.

One thing at a time. If they continue to be reluctant, you might want to try talking about one thing at a time — for example, knowing where to locate contact information and documents.

Get organized. It’s a good idea to make a list of the financial information you’ll need to gather in order to assist your aging parents. Then, when they’re ready to talk, you’ll know where to start.

Here’s a checklist to start with:

  • Know where to locate their important documents such as a will, marriage and birth certificates, military records, titles to property, insurance policies, power of attorneys, advanced directives such as a living will, financial account information, mortgages and other debts and tax returns.
  • Develop a list of contact information, phone and emails for your parents’ advisors, such as an attorney, financial advisor and life insurance agent.
  • Learn the location and contents of your parents’ safe deposit box.
  • Track down health insurance information for your parents such as Medicare, Medicaid and supplemental insurance.
  • Make a contact list of your aging parents’ doctors and note details of any medications that your parents are taking, including where their prescriptions are filled.
  • Talk over your parents’ expenses and develop a strategy for meeting their living and medical expenses if something were to happen.

Discuss caregiving options. Would your parents be open to moving to a retirement community with continuing care options or to an assisted living facility if their health should worsen? Would you or your siblings be willing to have your parents stay with you or your siblings? Do your parents have long-term care insurance that would cover the cost of having an aide assist them in their home?

If you are fortunate to have your parents long enough, this will be a topic of future conversations. Let your loved ones know that you love them and are there to help, not to invade their privacy or make them feel helpless.

Are you ready to make the necessary changes to improve your financial health? Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Gowdy Financial Group, LLC., is a Fee-Only, Financial Advisory firm dedicated to helping women, from all backgrounds and income levels, get out of debt, save toward your goals and enjoy the freedom that comes with being in control of your money. We don't sell products; we provide solutions. "Your Goals. Our Solutions." Serving Clients Nationwide.