How to Best Discuss Finances with Senior Parents

Serious mature couple calculating bills to pay, checking domestic finances, middle aged family managing, planning budget, expenses, grey haired man and woman reading bank loan documents at homeFamily financial affairs tend to be a taboo subject, and the reason behind multiple arguments, enhanced emotions, and misunderstandings. And for a good number 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 is often uncomfortable for them to grant access to personal finances to adult children, and to accept the necessity to spend some of those finances on caregiving needs.

Speaking with an aging loved one about personal finances is most effective when initiated before the need arises, understanding it might take quite a few discussions before an understanding can be achieved. These discussion starters can certainly help:

  • “Dad, sooner or later, we have to make some decisions in regards to the future. Now may well be a good time to relax together and examine your wishes as well as the financial side of making sure we can comply with those wishes.”
  • “Mom, I know you’re managing your money just fine now, but what if something were to happen to your overall health that prevented you from paying your bills on time? It would be good to have a backup plan in position. Let’s sit down and create one.”
  • “Mom and Dad, you have always been so great at handling your money and providing for us while we were little. We would like to be sure to continue that legacy, and to know how best to help the two of you meet your financial obligations in the event that the time comes that you need some assistance with that.”

It’s also helpful to share real-life examples of a friend or neighbor who was exploited by identity theft, or a story from the news about the ever-changing economy, stock exchange drops, adjustments to tax laws, etc. This tends to jumpstart a discussion regarding your aging parents’ own retirement plans and any financial fears for the future, allowing you to come to a mutually agreeable resolution, such as for instance speaking with a financial advisor together.

Most of all, be certain that you uphold a feeling of respect, never seeking to “take over” your parents’ finances, but to provide the assurance and peace of mind that their financial matters will still 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.”

Responsive Home Care offers an in-home consultation to assist seniors as well as the families who love them to comprehend their choices for care, and to help mediate complicated conversations like those linked to finances. Call us at 954-486-6440 for assistance throughout Broward County.