One of the most sure-fire ways to get an older adult – notably an aging parent – to tune you out and walk away is by bringing up their household finances. But when it comes to family caregivers and elderly loved ones, it’s a conversation that needs to happen. Failing to discuss financial matters with Mom or Dad could put you at a disadvantage should you ever have to manage their money or take over those decisions entirely. What follows are several tips for having “the money talk” with that special senior in your life without being confrontational.
Preparation and Timing
Your motivation for asking questions about your aging loved one’s financial situation and estate planning goals should be based on genuine concern and curiosity. Bringing up these topics requires some tact, so you don’t come across as being disrespectful, greedy, manipulative, or nosy.
A poorly worded or ill-timed conversation might cause your loved one to tune out, putting a damper on future discussions. To give you both peace of mind, financial talks with aging friends or relatives should be honest, ongoing, and informative.
How to Tactfully Discuss Money Matters
Once you’ve mentally established some discussion “ground rules,” here’s how to get started:
Use current events as an “ice breaker.”
Your parent or grandparent may be spending more time watching the news or financial television channels since retiring. News stories and market updates about the economy, politics, and health care can be real conversation starters.
Try striking up a discussion about related current events and then politely turn the topic so it overlaps with your loved one’s situation. In the end, a “bigger picture” current events approach can be gradually eased toward other financial or legal topics, including those impacting your loved one’s retirement nest egg.
Share your financial planning goals
Most adult children like to discuss household financial matters with their elders and seek advice. Since legal and financial plans are essential for your future, feel free to share those goals during regular conversations about your family and what you’ve been doing.
For example, mention that you’ve been working with a financial advisor who is asking you about your estate plan and retirement goals. During the conversation, point out that this process has reminded you to ask if your loved one is also working with a financial expert.
Let them direct the discussion
Like many seniors, your parent is probably anxious about someday outliving their savings or losing their independence. Discussing those possibilities makes them seem real and even scary. Talk to Mom or Dad about how you want to ensure they can continue along the financial course they have created for themselves.
Politely tell them you want their wishes to be honored in life and death by first having a clear understanding of what those wishes are. Showing them that you are committed to safeguarding their future as they envision it should be reassuring.
Ask them to share their experiences with others
Invite your loved ones to pass along their financial wisdom to younger members of the community, including any lessons they’ve learned and decisions (good or bad) they’ve made over the years.
While this approach is relatively safe because it isn’t directly focused on their current financial situation, it does allow you to gauge your parent’s comfort level and experience before delving into more sensitive details about their finances.
Avoid certain topics altogether
It’s vital to remember that your loved one’s money is theirs to spend how they please and that they will probably need most – if not all – their income and assets to fund elder care (home care, assisted living, etc.) as they get older. Be respectful of their privacy and independence by keeping your questions and comments appropriate and avoiding topics that could upset them.
Family Trusted In-Home Care for Seniors in Elkhart, IN
Supporting an aging loved one’s independent lifestyle can be challenging when you’re busy or live far away. Senior1Care is your trusted partner in providing quality, compassionate home care services to seniors living in Elkhart, Dunlap, Jamestown, and Goshen, IN. Our experienced caregivers are trained to deliver professional, reliable care in the same respectful and friendly manner that they would treat their own family members.
At Senior1Care, we understand that having a caregiver in your loved one’s home is a decision that requires trust. Our goal is to build relationships with clients by listening to their needs and providing the highest level of quality care possible. We are committed to helping your loved ones maintain their well-being, independence, and comfort. To learn more about our flexible caregiving options or schedule a FREE assessment for a senior in the greater Elkhart, IN, area, visit us by clicking here now.