How to Talk with Your Elderly Parents About Their Finances?

Published: May 18, 2023 | Blog

Asking about an aging parent’s financial resources can feel like an invasion of privacy, but it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. No one wants their parents to wind up without enough savings to continue enjoying the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed, so finding ways to talk about long-term financial goals and needs is a must. Read on to find out about a few tactics for making the conversation a little easier.

1. Invite Advice

Framing a conversation about finances as an opportunity for aging parents to pass down their financial wisdom is a great way to open up a conversation without putting them on guard. Ask about decisions made and lessons learned in the past. This approach gives concerned children the chance to gauge their parents’ comfort levels regarding financial discussions in more general terms, which will make it easier to have conversations about more sensitive details later.

2. Ask What’s Important

Most older adults are more willing to talk about what their goals are and what’s important to them in terms of how they want to live than they are about how to pay for it. Learning whether seniors are interested in retirement homes or aging in place, if they’ve investigated any specific options, and what they’re looking for in terms of lifestyle can both get a conversation started and make it easier to explore costs independently. 

3. Tell a Story

Some people have more trouble than others admitting that they are not exempt from the aging process. Telling a story about a friend, or even a stranger, whose failure to make financial plans has negatively impacted their retirement can get aging parents thinking about things differently. Most want to continue maintaining the lifestyle they’ve always had and take advantage of independent living for seniors for as long as possible. Hearing a cautionary tale about how a failure to plan can stop that from happening may make them more open to the idea of accepting help.

4. Keep Parents in Control

People want to feel that they are in control of their own lives, especially older adults afraid of losing their independence. Making sure that elderly parents know their children just want to help them continue along the roadmap that they have created earlier in life and respect their wishes helps to assuage fears of the future. Because it takes a precise understanding of someone’s preferences and the resources available for meeting them to make sure that person gets what they want later in life, parents who are willing to sit down and have a conversation will usually divulge more relevant information.

5. Try Talking to Mom

In most cases, the matriarchs of families are more approachable regarding finances and future care. Of course, both parents should have a say in their retirement plans if both of them are still in the picture, but starting by talking to mothers one-on-one makes it easier to accomplish that goal eventually. Mothers are more likely to engage in frank conversations with their adult children and less likely to find them challenging. They can then convey questions and information to their husbands or open up the door for a shared conversation that feels less threatening.

6. Stick to Pertinent Facts

Finding out whether a parent prefers to age in place alone or to investigate community living options helps their adult children figure out how to help them prepare financially for the future. Asking about inheritances or estates only indicates insensitivity and selfishness. Avoid looking greedy, which will almost always make people less likely to want to discuss more necessary elements of their financial plans and can create problems with future conversations.

7. Share Information

Most adult children of aging parents are at a point in their lives where they have also begun to take financial planning seriously. This makes it possible to share information about financial planning, legal documents, and long-term retirement objectives for the future first before they ask their parents to do the same. Creating a sense of reciprocity in this way can set the stage for a more open, honest dialog.

A Wise Way to Spend Retirement Savings

People work for their entire adult lives to save up for retirement, and we here at The Chelsea at Bald Eagle believe that they deserve to live every day of it to its fullest. Our community of active seniors offers a full range of amenities and services so that our residents can focus on filling their days with excitement and happiness. Call (973) 728-600 to learn how New Jersey seniors can get more out of retirement and live better for longer.