Crucial Conversations to Have With Your Aging Parents (and How to Make It Easier on Everyone)
In order to produce the podcast and keep content up free for you, I work with partners so this post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.
If you think talking about money with each other is hard, try talking to your parents.
Today we’re getting into one of the money sensitive situations when it comes to marriage and money – making sure your parents are in a good spot during their golden years.
Who's Going to Take Care of Your Parents?
Family and finances can be stressful. But typically makes it so difficult is how easily our emotions get involved.
Talking with your parents about money. Is red at the top of the list. It can definitely be awkward, but it's not something you want to put off.
If anything, this year especially has been a clear reminder that we need to be prepared.
While we can't anticipate everything. Having these conversations and making sure our money's in a good spot can make stressful things a little more bearable
Last year, Cameron Huddleson shared a story from her book Mom and Dad: We Need to Talk:
As uncomfortable as it seems to have these conversations, in a way, it's the loving thing. You're looking out for your parents.
Let’s be honest, there are a lot of moving parts. There’s the two of you and then your parents and theirs, siblings, so it can sometimes be tricky communicating with everyone.
On top of that you have to deal with your own finances and schedules and those factors will affect what you're able to contribute.
So to make things easier, we’re going to break things down into some key steps you can take and some conversation starters to get the ball rolling.
In this episode we’ll get into:
- Opening up the conversations with your parents to see where they’re at
- How to discuss together what you’re able to do for your parents
- Drafting a plan so your parents are in a better spot for retirement and beyond and your finances are in a good spot
Ready? Let’s get started!
How to Master Your Small Business Finances (Even If You're Busy!) – Couple Money Podcast
Resources for Parents and Retirement
Here are some fantastic resources to help you two get more comfortable talking about retirement and more with your parents.
- Best Budget and Money Apps: Personal Capital, Tiller, Mint
- Automatic Saving: Qapital
- Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money
- Mom and Dad: We Need to Talk
- How to Talk with Your Parents About Their Money
- Rock Retirement – Roger has written an incredible book that breaks down how you can plan and save not just for retirement, but a life you love now!
- Free 401(k) Analysis: blooom <-Get started now with your planning your retirement!
Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!
Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.
If you want to be better prepared financially, please consider Coastal’s Retirement Planning Program!
Key Takeaways for Taking Care of Your Aging Parents
Don't have a chance to listen to the episode? That's okay; here are the highlights!
#1 Don't wait to start these conversations.
One of the best ways for you to make this less stressful and awkward for everyone. Is to get into the habit of having these conversations. Talk with your parents about the positives. What are they planning with retirement? What does it look like to them? What would they like to do?
And as you get more comfortable, you can then start beginning to have conversations about estate planning. And health care wishes with them.
#2 Approach These Conversations and Planning Sessions as a Team
I believe the two of you should definitely sit down and talk about what you're comfortable and able to do with helping out together as a team.
However, you should also turn to your side of the family. If you have siblings that can help out, see where you can divide in share responsibilities.
Not only is that a good way for one person not to be burdened with all the responsibility, but should life happen and that person unable to help out someone else can easily step in and assist your parents.
#3 Make sure that you're in communication with everyone involved.
Do check-ins once a year, just to make sure that nothing's changed.
Keeping these conversations open and continuing makes it less stressful because you're not having one big conversation, but instead you're just doing these check-ins.
I know this is not a subject to be rushed and you can get stuck with trying to work things out.
If you're looking for more ideas or you have questions. Please come chat with us and our Thriving Families, Facebook group.
We're here to help one another out with our family and financial goals. We'd love to see you there!
How to Get Your Parents to Open Up About Their Finances
First off, how would you know if parents are financially prepared for retirement? How can you start talking about issues like long-term care and their wishes?
I get it, it’s awkward to talk to your parents about money, but if you carefully approach this, it can be an opportunity to start working together so as they get ready to retire, it’s a smoother transition.
And actually starting off with that – retirement – has been helpful for me when talking with my mom.
We’ve been discussing this and one thing she mentioned is that she wanted to be closer to us so she could hangout with her grandkids more.
From there, we came up with a plan for her to move here. I admit it was tricky buying a house during a pandemic, but happily she found a place nearby us here in Raleigh.
Because of the move, other topics naturally came up – retirement budget.We haven’t worked out all the details, but now we have a clearer idea of what she’s looking for and where she’s at. Those are huge pieces.
Down the line, there are going to be more conversations that come up, estate planning, health care, and necessary legal documents they need to have in place to make it happen.
Another layer that you may have with your parents’ wishes or expectations is culture. Maybe as you’ve grown up your parents have stated a few times what they expected or it could be not so clear.
I know for me, there hasn’t been a formal or open declaration, but based on what I’ve seen growing up in my family, I’ve had this idea that at a certain point she would move in with us.
Acknowledging those expectations is important because you’ll need that when the two of you discuss and draft a plan.
Working Together on Where You Can Help
Now that you have a better idea of what's going on with your parents and hopefully your spouse done the same with theirs. The two of you can start looking at where and how you can help based on your specific family's needs, depending on what's going on care could be a lot of things to juggle. You have your own family's finances and goals that you're pursuing.
While trying to figure out how you can help with your parents and your spouse's parents. This is going to take some real planning. You have your goals that you're trying to pursue. So you want to make sure that you are familiar and comfortable with the numbers that you have right now. How are you doing cashflow?
Are you making the progress that you're hoping with your goals? Are you in a spot to help? I know sometimes this can be a painful conversation, but it could be that you are temporarily unable to financially help, but that doesn't mean you can't chip in. We'll talk about this later, when you're coming up with a plan with rest of the family.
But knowing ahead of time, what your numbers are, can give you a better idea of how you can help. And one advantage of having this discussion just between the two of you, is that you can get out into the, open your feelings, honestly, and really explore different situations that possibly could come up. For example, I mentioned at a certain point, I would think that my mom would move in with us.
Well, there's certain things we would have to discuss first. One thing the two of us would have to work out is what would be that point. Where she would move in, or we would at least make that offer. If she did move in with us, how would that work financially? Would we have some sort of rent arrangement?
Would my siblings chip in with that? What other responsibilities would we take on? We then have to kind of mentally run through the different scenarios of how our living situation would change and whether both of us would be comfortable with that. And the good news is by doing it now in early, we can start defining for ourselves as a family, what would be the best move and what we would feel comfortable offering.
As it happened in preparation for this move, she had stayed with us for a little bit and it gave us kind of a test run of what that would look like. And we saw some things that worked really well. And now we have a better idea of certain things. We'd would just down the line, weaving in these types of conversations with the numbers, allows the two of you to create a plan that you're both comfortable with.
It can be very tricky helping one parent. But if you have parents on both sides that need assistance, you want to make sure that this is something sustainable.
Also understand that you're going to have multiple conversations and as things come up, you're going to be adjusting your plan
Try to keep tabs as best you can with your parents and one another so that you're booth in the loop.
Drafting a Plan for Retirement, Long Term Care and More
Hopefully you’ve started the conversation with your parents and the two of you have an idea of what you’re able and comfortable with when it comes to your parents’ care.
The next step is having a family meeting. We want everyone involved on the same page. Too many times, time and energy is wasted because family members can’t agree or feel like they are being shut out.
You can minimize this by having your siblings, parents, and other involved parties together to discuss things.
The goals being:
- everyone is understands what your parents’ wishes
- determine the best kind of assistance for current and future situations
- If needed, finding for affordable solutions
Again, start off with the easier, more positive or at least neutral stuff. Retirement, maybe where they’d like to live.
As you answer some foundational things, you can move towards more financial and legal discussions.
You’ll also want to discuss having the necessary documents and accounts like power of attorney, long term care insurance, living and regular wills and whatever else you need for estate planning.
Speaking of estate planning, you may want to meet with a financial planner and attorney to get everything properly set up. It will be a protection for your parents and whoever is involved in executing their wishes.
And remember to take it bit by bit.
If you’re starting early, you don’t have to do this in one sitting and most likely you won’t.
If you have siblings, try to find ways you can divvy up some of the responsibilities. What are each of you able to do or contribute?
One or more may be in a position to give day-to-day care if they live nearby for example while others may be able to provide more financial assistance. Someone can handle making sure your parents are signed up for any programs and resources they qualify for.
All should realize that everyone has a role.
Also have a regular check ins. It doesn’t have to be formal, but keep one another in the loop because situations change and you may need to swap or adjust things as possible.
Talking with your parents about money and how to take care of them may not be the easiest conversations to have, but they can allow you to give the best support and care you can for them.
Support the Podcast!
Thank you so much for listening to the podcast!
- Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
- Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on Apple or Stitcher.
- Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in 4 weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!
Like the music in this episode? Our theme song is by Gentle Regime. Additional Music from Artists at Audiio.