Money can be an awkward topic, especially with aging parents. It can be uncomfortable and unsettling for everyone because parents lead the way in life, not the other way around. Yet, it’s a conversation that’s necessary, and the sooner you have it the better you can plan for their future. Here are some tips on how to do it.
• Be prepared: As with any important meeting, it’s important to be prepared. So, before sitting down with your parents make a list of all the items you’d like to eventually discuss with them. Things like: income and expenses, insurance and estate planning, retirement savings and debt. Once your list is complete, plan a visit, and let your parents know what this particular visit is all about: it’s to talk about their future and to make sure everyone is on the same page.
• Start with universal topics: An easy way to begin the conversation is to talk about retiree benefits in general, like Social Security and Medicare. These are topics that are top of mind for retirees and those approaching retirement. They’re also most likely ones that your parents are already talking to their friends about so it’s not much of a leap to talk to their children about it too. Starting with these money matters will give you an idea of how much your parents will have coming during retirement, and how much will be going out, specifically for health care costs. Not to mention, it’s a lot easier to start the conversation with Social Security and Medicare than asking your parents how much they have in their savings account. That topic and many others will come soon enough.
• Ask about their current plans: Odds are your parents have already given some thought to their future. They may even have prepared for it by having their estate plan in place or by purchasing a long-term care insurance policy in the event they need specialized care. The point is to make sure you both have a full understanding of their wishes for the future and the resources they may need for it.
Regardless of how you start the discussion, remember that’s it’s one that will be on-going. It is a process that will require time, energy and most of all, patience.
Securities offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through NCA Financial Planners. RAA and NCA are not affiliated. Mayfield Heights, 440-473-1115, NCAfinancial.com.
Melanie R. Ross is senior financial adviser at NCA Financial Planners in Mayfield Heights.
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