Family financial matters are frequently a taboo topic, and the source of multiple arguments, emotions, and misunderstandings. And for lots of today’s seniors, who maintain a “Depression mentality” from years of saving for a rainy day and learning to “waste not, want not,” it may be hard for them to share access to finances with adult children, and to recognize the need to spend some of those personal finances on caregiving needs.
Talking with an older parent about personal finances is most efficient when initiated before the need occurs, appreciating it could take numerous talks before an understanding can be reached. These senior money management discussion starters can certainly help:
- “Dad, in time, we have to make some choices concerning the future. Now might be the perfect time to relax together and go over your wishes plus the financial side of making sure we can abide by those wishes.”
- “Mom, I know you are managing your finances just fine now, but what if something were to happen to your health that prevented you from paying your bills on time? It might be very good to have a backup plan ready to go. Let’s take a moment and come up with one.”
- “Mom and Dad, you have always been so great at managing your money and providing for us while we were growing up. We want to be sure to carry on that legacy, as well as to understand how best to help you both meet your financial obligations in the event that the time comes that you may need some assistance with that.”
It’s also beneficial to share real-life situations of a friend or neighbor who was exploited by identity theft, or a story from the media in regards to the ever-changing economy, stock market declines, changes to tax laws, etc. This might jumpstart a conversation regarding your aging parents’ own retirement plans and any financial fears for the future, allowing you to come to a mutually agreeable solution, such as talking with a financial advisor together.
Most of all, make sure to uphold a sense of admiration, never trying to “take over” your parents’ finances, but to offer the assurance and peace of mind that their financial matters will continue to be managed effectively. Ask your parents for advice, including them in the decision-making process. Daniel Lash, certified financial planner at VLP Financial Advisors, suggests, “Tell them what you’re thinking about doing so you give them the power to tell you what they think you should do. It’s like they’re giving you advice because that’s what parents are good at – giving advice.”
JFS Care offers an in-home consultation to assist the elderly and the families who love them to understand their choices for care, and to help mediate difficult conversations like those associated with finances. Reach out to us at (855) 455-2273 for trusted help at home Los Angeles and the surrounding area deserves.