Your Loved Ones and Money

The issue of money can be a very personal one, and one that we may wish to avoid at all costs in many situations. However, there may come a time when your parent may not be able to manage his or her finances properly. If you’ve started noticing they seem to be having trouble, it may be time to sit and have a discussion about where to go from here. With that said, it can be hard to know where to start, so we’ll take a look at some strategies you can use to help get started and help the topic to be a little easier to discuss.

The first thing you can do is use a story. In fact, this can be one of the best ways to get them started talking. It doesn’t even have to be a true story; you can make it up if necessary. However, tell them about someone who either did or did not have the necessary financial information for his or her parents and the implication(s) that it had on the situation at hand. For instance, you could say that the person had extreme difficulty in clearing up their parent’s business because they didn’t have the information on his or her parent’s accounts or any legal documents.  Be sure to tell them you don’t want them in the same situation, and that could prompt them to share with you.

Another way you could talk with them is to share your own situation. If you share with them about how you’re managing your own financial business, that could be of some help. You could say something like you’ve met with an attorney to make a will or have created a list of all accounts and passwords to give to your spouse in case something happens to you. You could then ask your parents what they’ve done to ensure this.

Next, you could offer to help them lighten the burden they may be carrying. Ask them if there’s any area you can help with, so that they can better enjoy all the things they like doing without having to worry so much about finances. A specific area that may work best is offering to help with tax preparation, since a lot of people don’t like it much and dread doing it. Aside from helping them out, it will also give you some insight into your parent’s financial situation.

If they seem rather stagnant and intent on not sharing anything with you, you could suggest that they speak instead with an elder law attorney, a financial planner, or aging life care professional—which you can find through the Aging Life Care Association. In all likelihood, these professionals will also encourage your parents to share that important information with you.

There are, of course, many more tips and suggestions to help get your parents started talking about finances, though these are just a few to help get you on the right track. If you’ve been struggling in this particular area, hopefully this will help to kick-start things for you.