Money can be a touchy subject. More often than not, people would rather keep to themselves when it comes to what goes in out of their checkbook and bank accounts.
As a result, it can be quite difficult to have those important conversations. That’s especially true with your aging parents, who are likely not used to someone else managing their finances.
To make matters worse, the stigma associated with inquiring about your parents money (i.e. the conniving child who is only looking to cash in after everything is all said and done) can cause a lot of problems for you even though you are genuinely trying to help.
To make things easier on you and your loved ones, throughout this week, we’re going to talk about a few important tips when it comes to talking money with your aging parent–from why it is important, to important information you need to know, and how to get the conversation going.
For today, we’re going to talk about why you should start thinking about talking to your parents about their finances.
Step One: Tread Lightly.
We’re going to stress this point throughout our guide because it is so important when it comes to having these conversations: you must always remember to tread lightly.
Consider your parents point of view when you start asking about their finances. Even though you are genuinely trying to help, your parent might feel ashamed or embarrassed. They were, after all, balancing their checkbooks when you were little and even before then, so keep that in mind as you begin to think about helping them.
Why Talking Money Is Important.
Simply put, helping your parents get all of their financial affairs in order will make things much easier for you and your loved ones in the event of a crisis. Take for example, Krysten Crawford, whose unfortunate story was the center of this article in the New York Times. Because her mother passed away before anything could be done, Ms. Crawford was left with her mothers debt and the inability to pay because she couldn’t even know how much was owed to the bank.
Stories like these can be heartbreaking, because not only do they cause trouble for the children–they may also detract from the good memories/image of the parent, which is the last thing anyone wants.
Finding the Right Time.
There is no magic number or time frame for when you should talk to your parents about their finances. Regardless, we suggest having the conversation sooner rather than later. Taking note of their health and looking for signs of trouble (see here and here) is also important when it comes to determining when it is time for talking money. And, as we mentioned above, tread lightly and be considerate of your aging parent–their point of view is important.
Check back on Wednesday when we’ll show you what to look for when it comes time to have the talk about money. In the meantime, let us know what you think by connecting with us on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!
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