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Financial Conversations with an Aging Parent, Relative or Friend
August 15, 2019
Life moves fast, and changes in our world are inevitable as we get older. Talking and preparing for those changes can sometimes be a challenge.
It's important to take a pro-active approach to your financial picture and secure a safe path forward.
Carolyn McClanahan, MD, CFP®, Co-Founder of Whealthcare Planning LLC and Founder & Director of Financial Planning of Life Planning Partners, Inc. shares insights on how best to approach those important financial conversations with an aging parent, relative or friend in her August post for Forbes.com.
What do you do if you try to bring up worries about aging with your parents and you are met with silence? Here are some pointers of how to open the conversation.
Share a story
Plenty of stories abound of disasters about getting old. By sharing your concerns as a realistic story and ending with an open-ended question that can’t be easily swatted away, you are more likely to have a productive conversation.
Share your own planning
A medical event can happen at any time. All of us need to plan for two basic life functions if we can’t take care of ourselves but are still alive – how are our bills going to be paid and what health care decisions do we want our loved ones to make for us.
Tell your parent, “Guess what I did?!” Share your planning with them, then ask, “What have you put in place in case something happens to you?” Again, using open-ended questions that can’t be brushed aside leads to more fruitful conversations.
Share sites that help plan for aging
There are a number of sites that help people plan for aging events. People are often more comfortable sharing their thoughts with a computer than they are with the ones they love.
Engage a geriatric care manager
Most families don’t address problems with aging until it is too late. Consider hiring a geriatric care manager to assess the situation and give an objective opinion on the needs of your parents.
Most importantly, keep trying, but with a sense of grace and humor. Aging is tough, and by normalizing the conversation and preparing in advance, we can ideally mitigate disaster and help our parents make the “golden years” a little more peaceful and less costly financially and emotionally for all.
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