How to Talk to Ageing Parents About Money

As parents get older, there may come a time when you need to have some uncomfortable discussions, such as talking about moving into a nursing home or reviewing their financial situation. These conversations tend to be difficult because it is a case of role reversal, after spending most of your life with your parents being responsible for making decisions and guiding you, rather than the other way around.

However, it is very important to talk about issues such as their will and overall financial picture in case they become ill and are unable to make financial decisions. Talking about their will and their potential care preferences will help you to make the right decisions for them in the future.

If you are worried about how to have this important conversation with your parents, here are some tips:


Get prepared for the talk


Before you sit down to talk about finances, make sure that you know exactly what you want to cover. It will help to write a list of all the topics, such as their will and estate, overall finances including any debt, savings, or investments. You should also talk about who they want to be the executor of the will and who to nominate for power of attorney.


Explain why you need to talk about money


If there is something that naturally comes up that involves finances, uses it as an opportunity to talk about the topics that you want to discuss.


Alternatively, to get the conversation started, it may help to talk about someone you know that did not have the conversation with their parents and how it impacted decisions such as care homes or making financial arrangements.


When you start the conversation, begin by telling them that you really want to make sure that their all wishes are carried out and that there is no confusion about what your parents want to happen. You should frame it as a conversation that is to help with their future, as well as making it more straightforward for the rest of the family.


Research financial help


Another way to start the conversation is to mention that you think your parents may be entitled to some financial support, but you need to know about details such as savings in order to work out if they qualify. This way, you are showing that you are acting in their best interests, rather than asking about their money for your own benefit.


If there are changes to taxes, benefits, or pensions, you could bring this up as a conversation starter, to ask whether they know how they will be impacted. This can then lead into a bigger talk about overall finances.


While bringing up the subject of finances while your parents are still relatively young may feel uncomfortable, the earlier you have the conversation, the better. Remember that you both want the same thing – the best outcome for both them and their family.


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