Talking Money with Aging Parents
It's about the present—and the future.
Our two cents
For many families, talking about money is difficult. Your parents may not want to admit they need help, or they may be reluctant to see you in the parental role of giving advice. But with love, concern, and some thoughtful preparation, you can open the door to this important conversation.
Making things easier for them
Your parents may have their daily financial lives under control, but it doesn't hurt to discuss the basics. As people get older, even taking care of relatively simple things such as banking and paying bills can become more difficult. You might be able to help your parents simplify and streamline.
A good way to start is to talk about your own daily management issues, such as:
- Staying on top of a budget—Do your parents have a budget in place? If not, you can help them get a clearer idea of where their money is going and determine if their income will continue to be enough to meet their daily needs.
- Paying bills on time—If they're having trouble keeping up with due dates and bill paying, talk to them about establishing automatic payments from their bank account.
- Handling credit—Ideally at this time in life, your parents are practically debt-free. If they're juggling credit card balances on a fixed income, you can discuss how they can pay off their debts.
- Basic and online banking—Getting to and from the bank may become a burden. Help them take advantage of direct deposit for things like Social Security payments, IRA distributions or other regular sources of income. Also help them set up online and mobile accounts to reduce trips to the bank.