The psychology of talking to our parents about money is confusing because it’s one of those things they should have talked to us about. As adult children we sometimes take on the role of the parent by advising our older parents in financial and health matters. Here are some ideas to make the conversations easier with your parents.
Make it About You
By bringing up a financial topic and making it about you makes it less about them. Do you have questions about if their retirement will last? Tell your parents you are looking at your own retirement and want to make sure you have enough to the end. Ask them how they planned their own retirement. Did they use a financial planner? Have they done any calculations recently?
By asking for advice from your parents you are staying in the “child” role and they may think they are giving your advice (and maybe they are), but this also lets you open the door to the conversation and create a clearer picture on their current financial status.
Find a Neutral Third Party
Blame it on an attorney or financial advisor, hey they get paid to handle this. Ask them if they have advisors helping them manage their investments and retirement. Explain that as part of your retirement planning you need to know that they have themselves well planned.
If you think your parents might outlast their money consider introducing them to your financial advisor or attorney. This will help them work with “experts” to get accurate information. Often as adult children we struggle to be seen as knowledgeable to our parents because we are always seen through their eyes as five years old. Letting an expert educate your parents (even if it’s the same thing you have told them) often works better.
Don’t Give Up
Just because you didn’t institute the full conversation with your parents the first time doesn’t mean you didn’t make an impact. You planted a seed. You let them know you are comfortable talking about money, you want what’s best for them and you are focused on making your family is in good shape.
Likely talking to your parents about money is more than one mega conversation and that’s good because you don’t want to come across as too overpowering. By talking about what you are doing will let them think about your own plans.
It’s also a good idea to steer clear of your siblings and any inheritances in the first few conversations. Let your parents bring this up with you not vice versa. Sharing your own story and dreams is the best way to get them to open up with their own ideas.
Continue the conversation with us at our podcast with Emily Stroud of Stroud Financial Management.