Most of us dread having the money talk with our parents. But helping your parents open up about their finances will make things easier later on. Read more here.
Watching your parents age and then coming to terms with the fact that people who’ve handheld you through your life’s ups and downs will need some hand-holding themselves now, isn’t easy. A lot of us may find ourselves in a tight spot when it comes to discussing finances with our parents. We might hesitate broaching this topic out of fear that parents will misconstrue our concern for doubting their ability to handle their own finances well. However, at some point, you will need to have this discussion with them whether by plan or by crisis. It’s always desirable that you have this conversation when they are in good health, mentally alert and are not an emotional mess (nor are you) because of a crisis. A discussion as sensitive as this will need to be approached with a calm mind and the right amount of tact.
Here are some warning signs that you need to watch out for that could indicate that your parents need help:
- Stacks of unopened mail containing bills and bank statements.
- Drastic changes in their behaviour such as avoiding money conversations.
- Strange calls and visitors that could mean they are the target of scams.
- Instances of them asking for money.
Following are some ways you can get the ball rolling with these conversations. Before you sit down to talk, pick the right place and time and gather your support team around (siblings and spouses), if need be.
This isn’t an easy conversation so to make it less threatening and intrusive, start by saying that you need their advice, then segue into questions like: what do they believe are best practices for handling finances? What paperwork and documentation they have completed like living will, financial power of attorney etc. Your parents may not want to feel like a burden or have their independence taken away, so start with small steps like providing them educational resources, helping them create a budget, contacts for accountants etc.
Additional Reading: Old School Money Management Tips You Could Learn From Your Parents
When talking to your parents about inheritance, word your statements carefully as you run the risk of making your parents think that you care more about the stuff that they will leave for you than the people who raised you. Instead of asking them forthright “Do you need help with your finances?”, focus the conversation on yourself and your feelings of wanting your parents to be prepared financially. Also, talk to each parent about how doing the will can ensure that the second parent is taken care of in case something happens to the first.
Additional Reading: How Your Parents Influence Your Finances
Your parents may not feel comfortable discussing their finances and its nitty-gritty with you. In such a situation, arrange for an impartial and trusted financial adviser for them with whom they can be more comfortable sharing things with. Also, in order to be prepared for sudden financial emergencies, find out where your parents keep their important bank documents and create an “in case of emergency file”, scan the documents and share with your siblings. While going through the documents, check if your parents need help streamlining their finances.
Additional Reading: Things To Remember While Buying Health Insurance For Your Parents
Given how sensitive this conversation is, your parents may resist help at first and may not be very forthcoming with information. However, you shouldn’t give up easily and keep looking for opportunities to bring up this conversation with them.
Remember that a topic like this will be touchy and emotional, so you have to keep a calm mind and not get into a heated debate over these matters. If you need help with your finances, we’ve got your back. Click the link below to explore contactless Credit Cards and Personal Loans for your safety.
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