Talking to Your Aging Parents About Their Finances
Is it time to step in and help?
Have you thought about approaching your parents to talk about the future and their finances? For many, the pandemic meant that adult children had to become more involved in their parents’ finances. Maybe a parent was forced into an early retirement, lost a job or experienced a health problem that resulted in a child having to step in and help. Whether or not the pandemic is the reason for sparking a conversation about money with a parent, there’s a good chance that many adult children will eventually need to get involved in their finances as they continue to age.
May is Older Americans Month and serves as a reminder of all the contributions older adults have made in our lives, and it also emphasizes the vital role we can play in their health and wellbeing. Financial wellness is an important part of life and understanding where your parents stand financially will allow you to address any challenges sooner than later.
One of the main reasons people don’t talk about money with their parents is because they don’t know how to start the conversation. In fact, a survey by GOBankingRates found that 73% of adult children put off talking about finances with their parents for that reason. Don’t wait! Check out our advice and tips, which are meant to help you jump start the conversation.
Why should I talk to my parents about their finances? It's not my business. Many individuals will eventually require assistance because financial decision-making abilities can decline with age. A lot of the time, the conversations about money are sparked by a crisis, such as a major health issue or when a parent shows signs that they need help. Ideally, you should start talking to your parents when they are in good health. Talking now will allow you and your family to have the knowledge and put a plan in place to help deal with the challenges your parents might face as they age.
How should I go about talking to my parents about their financial health? It doesn't have to be difficult, nor does it have to take place in a single conversation or fall only on one person’s shoulders. Enlist a sibling or close family member to help in your efforts – especially those who your parents will be most receptive to. Know that it will take time. Once you have all the right people involved, here are a couple ways to help you start the conversation:
- Ask for their advice about your own finances. The best way to learn about someone’s own habits/how they personally handled a similar situation is to ask for their advice. The goal is to open the door to what they have done or plan to do as it relates to their own finances
- Talk about the life event of someone you know. If someone you know was forced into an early retirement or unexpectedly lost their life, talk with your parents about how their planning (or lack of it) gave them peace of mind and a better sense of control.
What should I do if I discover my parents need financial help? Enlist the help of a financial advisor. From insurance policies and retirement planning to wills and trusts and healthcare expense planning, connecting your parents to a financial professional can help narrow down the challenges they face and provide a plan to better address their unique financial needs and goals.
Do your aging parents have sufficient retirement savings? Do they have a will and is it up to date? What about healthcare expenses, elder care costs and insurance coverage? Financial wellbeing is more than how much cash is in the bank. It’s also about having a plan and ongoing conversations. If you have questions or need additional resources related to financial planning, retirement savings, or estate planning, contact the Rock Valley Investment Services team. As always, you can also reach out to our Member Contact Center using our chat feature during regular business hours or call (815) 282-0300.
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