Information you need to live a happy, worry-free retirement!
Nov 5, 2015
Helping an elderly parent with financial issues presents unique obstacles, many of which have nothing to do with the faltering economy.
Back in the day, this type of discussion was off the table. Parents did not divulge personal money matters with their children. For one thing, it was rarely necessary. Life expectancies in past generations were much shorter, and the likelihood of outliving your assets was less of a worry.
Today, this conversation is critically important. But assessing a parent’s financial situation first requires that you obtain permission to have the discussion.
When you should have the talk
The best time to begin the discussion is before you need to — when your parent is in good mental and physical health. As parents age, they become more aware of limitations of time and resources. They may feel guilty about having insufficient provisions, or they may become defensive as they sense threats to independence. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be for them to open up about financial matters.
Broaching the subject
Let your parent know you want to help…not take over. You want your mother or father to know you have their best interests at heart, and want to be prepared to step in and provide assistance in an emergency. Don’t demand full disclosure or expect instant results, and don’t be pushy. This process may start simply with asking your parent to let you know where to find important documents if the need should arise.
Some parents may simply say “no” to your offer of assistance. Absent a legal condition of incompetence, there’s nothing you can do. Most, though, will gradually soften to your concerns, even if there is initial resistance.