How to Talk Money with Your Aging Parents
June 26, 2015
Just the idea of talking with an aging Indiana parent about their finances may cause anxiety for many adult children. Going through with it might not be as tough as you imagine. Either way, it is too important of a conversation to put off. It is better to tackle the topic sooner rather than later so you aren’t caught unprepared in a crisis.
The easiest way to begin might be by asking your parents if they have a will. Has a power of attorney has been designated? Is there a living will? These matters need to be addressed while your parents are at their best.
Experts advise not to assume your parents are managing their finances well just because they haven’t ask for help. Many older adults across the Hoosier state would rather be impoverished than be a burden to their children.
The easiest route, of course, is to just be honest. Explain to your senior loved one that you want to be prepared for the future. Don’t ask them if they need help. Just explain you need to be in a position of knowledge.
If getting directly to the point makes you uneasy, we’ve compiled a few tips to help. Remember, the important thing is that the conversation takes place.
- Ask for Professional Help
It may be easier for you to talk to your parents’ accountant or financial planner. Have him or her suggest to your parent that they review their financial affairs with you in case they fall ill or otherwise need your assistance. This may come across differently from a trusted professional than from an adult child.
Offer to Help Protect Your Indiana Senior Loved One
Explain to your parents that you have been reading about financial scams targeting seniors and you want to help them stay safe. Having access to their email and financial accounts will allow you to intervene when necessary. You should also visit www.donotcall.gov to place them on the registry. Legitimate telemarketing will stop after 31 days.
You could also offer to take over a responsibility like filing their income taxes. Suggest they spend their retirement enjoying themselves, not being burdened by mundane clerical work. This small favor will give you plenty of information about their financial status.
What to Do if You Spot a Problem
You may find that your parents spending habits are not in line with their retirement income. If that is the case, it can be tough to discuss the topic with them. It might be they are having trouble adjusting their lifestyle to a lower income. You can help by offering to help them find ways to save and live within their new budget.
Our final tip is to allow yourself enough time for a good conversation when you tackle this topic. Try to find a quiet time and a quiet location. While it might be tough to start the dialogue, remind yourself that a tough conversation might result in a disaster averted.