Talking with aging parents about their finances, their wishes, and the future, is never an easy conversation. When it became clear that her mother was starting to suffer from memory loss, Gwen started to speak with her mother about finances, accounts and final wishes. While she felt uncomfortable pressing her own mother for information, in the long run obtaining this information made things easier when Gwen, the daughter, ultimately had to take over her mother’s finances. While not all parents are willing to have these discussions, they are important to prevent the difficulties that eventually arise. Gwen Morgan, the author of “What If…Workbook,” a guide that helps gather and convey this type of information, notes that “People hold tight to their bootstraps.” Communicating early and often can help.
Even if your parents are reluctant to discuss their finances, the sooner the conversation begins, the better for all concerned. In an article posted on Go Banking Rates, “How to Talk About Money With Your Aging Parents,” the author shares a deeply personal experience with her own mother. Some parents are simply not willing to have these conversations, and several different approaches may need to be tried before you find the one that they are comfortable with. Not knowing key information could lead to family members needing to go to court to obtain the ability to gain control of their parents' finances and make medical decisions on their behalf. These scenarios can cause serious emotional and financial hardship for families.
Here are several strategies from the article to get aging parents to discuss their finances. Make sure that the conversation is respectful. Also make certain that it’s understood that you’re not trying to take over your parents’ finances. Starting with an area that doesn’t feel like a loss of power, may be more successful, the article advises.