Family members often dread discussing finances with their aging parents, especially if the parents are private about such topics. After decades of avoiding money subjects, talking about finances with elderly parents to ensure their future well-being becomes important. Discover the best ways to start a meaningful conversation about money with aging parents to ensure their needs are met in their golden years.
Discuss Your Financial Planning
Mentioning your financial plans is a smart way to get your parents to open up about their own. Discussing your intentions about subjects such as living wills, power of attorney, and senior living options encourages them to think about these issues for themselves. Plus, when they see their children making plans for their golden years, they will likely recognize their need to do the same.
Sometimes, parents are reluctant to discuss finances because they are embarrassed or concerned people want their money. However, it is crucial to evaluate the parents’ assets to ensure they don’t lose money or are taken advantage of by others. Let them know you care about protecting them and their assets before inquiring about what funds they have to cover their retirement plans.
Assemble Legal Documents
After decades of life, elderly people are often unsure about the location of legal documents. Start by asking about bank statements, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other essential paperwork. Then ask them about legal documents, including the power of attorney and living will, so you can respect their wishes if something happens in the future.
Ask What They Feel is Important
Instead of focusing on the family’s feelings, ask what your parents consider important in their golden years. Some parents are concerned about finances, while others might have health worries. Determining their priorities helps you initiate conversations that make a difference in the years to come.
Share the News
Sharing the latest financial news and updates is an excellent way to encourage conversations with your parents about money. For example, discussing an article or program about retirement planning, assisted living, and other aging-related issues helps your parents share their thoughts on the subjects. Once you know how they feel, you can initiate further discussions about their intentions and preferences.
Talk About Other Aging Parents
Elderly parents may feel alone or embarrassed to discuss their financial situation. Talk about other aging parents they know to help them open up about their feelings. For example, mentioning a friend’s parent who entered assisted living can help your parents address any concerns about their situation.
Encourage Them to Share Wisdom
Educating others can inspire your parents to take action in their own lives about finances and planning. Asking for advice shows your parents you respect their opinions and helps them feel in control of the conversation. Then, you can share your ideas and concerns to have a meaningful talk about the days ahead.
Advise Them to Be Cautious
Sometimes, aging parents still think of themselves as younger and don’t think financial planning is necessary at the time. However, sharing cautionary tales about potential issues if they fail to plan for the future can help them understand the importance of doing it. After working hard for years, your parents won’t want to lose their assets because they failed to take proper precautions.
Get a Team
Sometimes, it takes more than family intervention to help parents make intelligent plans about money. Encourage your parents to schedule meetings with attorneys and financial advisors to discuss their finances. Let them know you will accompany them if they want so they attend these meetings and make the most of them.
Offer to Help
Aging parents still want to be in charge and might feel reluctant to ask for assistance. Offering to help them may encourage a deeper conversation about their concerns, finances, and plans for the future. For example, setting up automatic bill payments can ensure their bills are paid on time.
Ask “What If?”
Even if your parents have health issues or other concerns, they might not think those problems are associated with aging. Try asking your parents “what if” questions to find out how they would feel if one of them was ill or other crises arose. Enacting scenarios makes the future more real to your parents, helping them face critical decisions now.
Financial conversations with parents can be challenging, but they are necessary to protect their well-being and finances. With a direct and respectful approach, you can have a meaningful conversation about money with your aging parents, positively impacting everyone’s future.