Find a Community

Tips for Talking with Senior Parents About Money

Tips for Talking with Senior Parents About Money

This time, there’s no euphemism for what you need to discuss. You want to help your senior parents with their financial planning. You have to talk to them about money.

Awkward, right?

These tips can help you broach the issue and cover all of the topics you need to discuss. And you’ll still be able to face your parents in the morning.
Having “The Talk” with an Older Parent

Decide Who Should Have the Talk

Unless you are an only child, you don’t have to face this important conversation alone. But if you gather the entire brood to talk to your parents, they might feel as if you’re ganging up on them.

Instead, elect the siblings with the closest, most open relationships with your parents to introduce the subject.
Introduce the Topic in a Non-Threatening Way

Don’t walk in and begin asking your parents about their assets, savings, or financial plans for the future.

Instead, use one of these methods suggested by experts:

Tell a story: Begin with an anecdote about a friend whose parents recently wrote their will. Or tell about a friend whose parents passed away leaving no information about their finances.

Suggest to your parents that it’s important you know what to do should they pass unexpectedly.

Ask your parents questions about future plans: Innocent questions such as “Where do you plan to retire?” or “Do you think you want to live in this house forever?” can open doors to a candid talk about finances.

Share your own money stories: Mention that you just increased your life insurance policy or maxed out your 401K with money from your raise. Showing your parents you’re willing to share details about your financial life could get them to open up.

Don’t Demand That Your Parents “Tell All”

Some parents may perceive their adult children to be “greedy” or think they are looking out for their own interests if they ask their parents about finance.

On the contrary, it’s important to talk to your parents about money matters for their own well-being. “Some aging parents opt to share information on legal arrangements and accounts, leaving dollar amounts out of the picture,” says financial adviser Jon Yankee in an article at

Cover the Important Points
While you don’t need specific dollar figures, you’ll want information about several key areas:

  • Where to locate important documents, including health and life insurance information and last will and testament
  • How many monthly bills do they have and how do they pay —online or by check
  • Whether or not they would be willing to move to an assisted living or continued care retirement community if necessary
  • How they plan to pay for future senior care needs

Know When to Bring in an Expert

If your parents refuse to talk, or if they are so confused about their own financial planning that they don’t have any answers, suggest calling a financial adviser specializing in seniors or an elder law attorney.

Together, you can sort out future finances. Both you and your aging parents will find greater peace-of-mind having survived “the talk.”

Need help determining how your parents could pay for a move to senior living? Let the experts at Five Star help

Subscribe to the Five Star Blog

Don't miss out on the latest tips, research and stories from Five Star to help you and your
family navigate aging well.