Don’t Wait Until It is Too Late: Talking with your Parents about Finances

Suzy’s father liked to use cash to take care of his finances, but he kept forgetting where he’d put the cash.  Tina’s mother was running up credit card debt buying from the home shopping channel.  Terrence’s father had a stroke that left him temporarily incapacitated and Terrence had no idea about how to get his bills paid.

These are all stories that may be prevented or helped with the intervention of concerned children and cooperation of savvy banknotes2parents.

The best time to talk about finances is while we are still competent and able.  Too often fears hold us back from having these important conversations.  We worry that we’ll upset our parents and that they’ll think we want to take over.  To alleviate this concern, talk to your parents before trouble strikes leaving them on the defensive.

Parents can help by keeping an open mind, listening, and understanding how their finances might impact the lives of their adult children.  Be mindful that your children aren’t trying to take control of your life, but rather are asking for your assistance.  Get organized and make sure that your children know where to find important financial documents and information.

Letting your parents know how their financial planning ties into yours will aid you in your efforts.  If, for example, they are planning to bequeath you a home and/or property you will need to plan ahead for paying property taxes.

Make an appointment to sit down and have this conversation.  Keep distractions to a minimum and be prepared to meet on more than one occasion to get all of the work done.  Be patient and listen closely to one another’s concerns.

Below are some resources that may help you to prepare for this vital conversation.

A checklist of things you need to know about your parents’ finances:

https://www.caring.com/checklists/elderly-parents-finances

http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2012-01/checklist-helping-parents-finances

Some questions to ask about your parents’ finances:

http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/taking-over-parents-finances-what-you-need-to-know-143865.htm