How to Have a Conversation with Your Parents About Money

How to Have a Conversation with Your Parents About Money

How to Have a Conversation with Your Parents About Money | brokeGIRLrich

As the saying goes, you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. That is especially true when it comes to your parents. After all, it is the lottery of life which decides which family you are born into. For some, this can be a blessing as they are literally born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

But for others, the spoon is more silver plated. This brings up some challenges, especially with aging parents as you want to make sure they are protected, though this is not always easy. As such, this article aims to give you some pointers on how to have a conversation with your parents about money.

Here is the funny thing when it comes to talking about money – it might be one of the most important conversations you can have but no one really wants to do it. Think about it. How many times have you rushed home for the holidays or a family event bursting at the seams to talk with your parents about their finances?

I hazard to guess that the answer is never. Sure, you might have asked your parents for money before. But to sit down with them as an equal and discuss their financial future. That is a different story altogether.

That being said, this important conversation is becoming even more important as our parents enter life beyond retirement. According to a survey from Fidelity Investments, many conversations between adult children and parents about money end in some sort of disagreement.

Now, this isn’t for lack of trying but rather because the talk brings out concerns about control and lack of independence. In this case, parents feeling like they are ceding control to their children. If you have children, then you can understand where your parents are coming from.

As such, timing is critical to any conversation with your parents about money. In fact, research shows that while most parents would prefer to delay the conversation, the best time is always now. If for any reason that it will give you, and your parents, enough time to ease into the conversation without the added stress of a looming emergency.

One strategy to ease into the conversation is to start by asking your parents about their advice. Take for example reverse mortgages. While it might not be time for you to consider one, you might want to ask your parents what they think about them and if they have done any research on the subject.

A great way to breach is if you live in another state. Show your parents a list of California lenders and ask them if they or someone they know might have heard of these lenders and what was their experience.

The reason this approach works is that it is a great way to ease into the conversation by asking for advice. This makes your parents feel like they are still in charge and will make them more open to go into greater detail.

Another way to help your parents to find a financial planner both of you could trust is to ask them to meet ‘your’ planner. Here’s a hint the planner does not need to be yours but might be someone who you trust and if you are introducing them to your parents then you will want to set the ground rules beforehand as this will ensure there are no awkward situations.

In fact, this approach can really help to break the ice as you are getting your parents in the room with a trust, and professional, advisor but are using them as a sounding board for what approach you should take – even if you are broke and rich.

Ultimately, talking to your parents about money is meant to be tricky. After all, they remember when you were a child or a tempestuous teenager. The key is to go slow, start by asking for their advice and then listen. Doing so will allow you to build up trust and eventually get them to see that you can make good decisions when it comes to money. Once you have achieved this, then you can start probing your parents about their financial plans.

9 thoughts on “How to Have a Conversation with Your Parents About Money

  1. I’m “lucky” in the sense that my parents are significantly older than most people’s parents (late in life baby), so we’ve had these conversations for a while. I admit I’m not exactly thrilled to be talking about my parents and their inevitable deaths, but it is helpful to know where the docs are and which banks to contact when the inevitable happens.

    We had a taste of what could happen earlier this year when my father almost died, and that practice run confirmed that being prepared is immeasurably better than not being prepared. Grief + confusion is awful!
    Melissa recently posted…How I Make Money OnlineMy Profile

  2. Starting this conversation is hard since there are aging parents who find this offensive or a private matter that shouldn’t be discussed. Whatever your parents will say, don’t heed to their request because talking about money is very important today.


    A lot of people who are 65 and above will require some long term care, which is a need that is expensive and something that aging parents don’t give importance to. This is the best time to talk about this concern to help them prepare for long term care expenses. The latest cost of care survey showed that the median cost of a private nursing home is around $93,000 annually. It obviously costs a lot and needs extensive planning.

    Most often that not, parents seek the help of their adult children. Before it gets to this point, talk to them and help them prepare for all their retirement needs by following the tips shared here.
    Samantha recently posted…Securing independence through LTC quotes this Fourth of JulyMy Profile

    • Ugh. I know. My mom asked what she could get me for my birthday last year and I asked her to look into long term care insurance for her and my dad since the rates would be decent since they’re not THAT old yet. She laughed at me and was like – who do you think will be paying for that if something happens to you guys? I don’t need another sweater.
      Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Is EasyShift a Good Way to Make Extra Money?My Profile

  3. My parents are gone, and my kids are a little younger than you, and there is a good chance I’m your parents’ age. Frankly, I find your suggestion about the financial planner to be insulting. First of all, where are your parents mentally? If they are still working and/or still obviously in command of all their faculties, then your only goal should be to find out where things are in case the worst happens–and unless you have a significant other, they should know where to find your assets in case the worst happens to you.

    Other than that, how much they have and what they spend it on is none of your business. They may have a financial planner with whom they are prefectly happy, or they might have figured out that those planners make more money for themselves than for their clients.

    Now, if your parents are really elderly, and are mentally slipping, chances are they know it. The time to step in is when you see that happening,and at that point, if you have the list of what was there, you should be able to piece the rest together. Your parents aren’t your children; you don’t get to decide for them how they are to spend their money.
    RAnn recently posted…Blogging About BloggingMy Profile

    • Actually, I think the financial planner idea is terrific because of my parent’s financial state. It’s a hot mess. I know it’s a hot mess. I don’t know the exact why’s of how it got to be this bad or how they are scraping by each month.

      I’m also well aware that when the hot mess blows up, it will be me and not my baby brother who is just out of college who will need to financially support them. Maybe if the blow up holds off a few more years, he’ll be able to help a little.

      So a financial planner might be able to not only help them get it together, but also give me a better idea of how much help they are going to need, so I can plan for it without their poor decisions also bankrupting me.

      I think you look at this as someone who is financially stable and makes good decisions. Which is terrific and incredible blessing for you kids too – since they largely won’t have to worry about you.

      On the flip side, I regularly worry about my parents house getting foreclosed on or whether or not they’re going to have electricity because has the bill been paid?

      So you’re right – I don’t get to decide for them how they spend their money. But I do love them and want them to be safe and cared for and their financial skills are really, really bad. If it wasn’t the basics in life I worry about in the long run, I could genuinely care less what they do with their money. You’re totally right. It’s theirs.

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