When your parents get older, sometimes the roles get reversed. Often, the child ends up being the one taking care of the parent and providing guidance and advice. This guidance is especially important when it comes to finances.
Elderly people often need help planning for the future, making it through retirement, paying off and refinancing loans, and making plans about where to live that are in their best interest. Providing that help is best done in a gentle and kind way. Remember, your parents are adults and should be treated as such.
To make sure that the financial conversation goes the way you want it to, it’s important to keep this and a few other tips in mind.
When you talk to your parents about finances is just as important as how you do it.
Often, people wait until some emergency or unexpected crisis, like a car accident or sudden illness, has occurred to start talking about finances.
During times like these, emotions are often high, everything is in chaos, and it’s difficult to make sound decisions. For this reason, it’s much better to broach the topic with your parents as soon as they hit retirement age.Come up with a plan for their finances, make sure they have a will, and just get them all set up and on track for the future.
When you broach the topic of finances with your parents, it’s normal to feel all kinds of ways. You might, for example, feel sad and scared that your parents are aging. You might even feel like crying. On the other hand, however, you might feel angry or frustrated at poor planning on your parents’ part or at bad financial decisions they might have made.
No matter how you feel, stay calm and collected as you talk with your parents. Express nothing but concern for their future and wellbeing, no matter how you may be feeling at that exact moment.
If you can handle things from this angle and keep a calm demeanor overall, the conversation should go much better.
Choose the Right Person
If you’re the only child, then, unfortunately, you’re going to be stuck having the financial conversation with your parents. If you’re not, though, you have some other options.
It’s important that you choose the best possible person from among your siblings to have this conversation with your parents. Choose someone who is kind and level-headed and who has a close, open relationship with one or both parents.
While you and your siblings could all talk to your parents together, this often makes them feel intimidated and ganged up on, so it’s usually best to have one person- the right person- do the job.
Keep it Short and Sweet
One final tip is to keep your conversation with your parents as brief and to the point as possible. This is not a fun conversation for anyone to have, so the sooner it’s over with and the goal is accomplished, the better.
Talk about everything you need to talk about, but don’t drag out any one topic, especially if it makes your parents uncomfortable. Furthermore, don’t bombard your parents with too many questions at once since this can make them feel like they’re on trial.
As you can see, talking to your parents about financial matters isn’t the easiest thing in the world. However, if you approach it the right way, it can at least be a little easier, as well as more productive.