Did your mother teach you it's not polite to talk about money? That may be true when you're with strangers or acquaintances, but when it comes to discussing finances with her and dad, the consequences of choosing polite silence can be disastrous.
Early in life, our parents start and run the money conversations from that first allowance to gearing up for those college loans, and maybe even beyond. Late in life, it is elderly parents who might need an all new money conversation about their own future and well-being. Unfortunately, to make that conversation happen, their now adult children likely will need to take the lead.
Yes, it is truly a role reversal and often an important one. How do you start "the talk" and get it right?
For a bit of guidance on the subject, you might turn to a recent Daily Finance article titled "Role Reversal: How to Have 'the Money Talk' with Your Aging Parents."
You see, late-in-life medical care may require the family to pull together and even offer direct care to their elderly loved ones. In the process, there may be some difficult financial hurdles to clear. In a very real way, it is not only the responsibility for the elderly parent to have planned along the way, but it is in everyone's interest to figure out the financial hurdles sooner rather than later.
Not planning has a funny way of becoming planning by default. This can lead to some painful consequences.
So, what do you need to talk about and how do you even start the conversation? Take a look at the original article for some issues to parse out, and a few cautionary tales, too.
One of the critical topics is that of long-term care. Given that it is a statistical reality, will the elderly parents outlive their resources due to long-term care? What can be done now to fund that obligation? Is long-term care insurance an option, especially if the children chip in to pay the premiums?
There is no time like the present to plan for tomorrow.
As for starting the conversation: this is always a difficult point, if only because it can be entirely different for different people. That noted, we are heading into a new year and this may be the perfect time to make "the talk" the first New Year's resolution you make - and keep.