Finances are a tough topic to address as it is personal. An individual’s view of money may be quite different from your own Boomer point of view.

Talking to older parents about financesParents of the WWII generation may find it unseemly to discuss finances with anyone and with their adult children in particular.

However, money is what it still takes for food on the table, a roof over our heads Medications, in-home assistance, insurances, and auto upkeep and much more with a little leftover for fun.

It is likely 15-20 years ago when your parents retired, they had some plan in place between savings, Social Security, pension and maybe some investments. Today however, they are in their post; post retirement years, upper 80s and into their 90s with greater health concerns. How does the money last? Finances ought to be discussed.

This becomes a family situation as adult siblings may have to plan and contribute to their parent’s care and medical needs. There are governmental benefits to explore – the Veteran’s Administration has several programs either to send in care or provide money (Aid & Attendance) to pay for private care in the home.  It is worth exploring State and County Adult and Senior Services, Community organizations, Religious funds and the like.

 Pick your time and place carefully

It is hard to help plan if you don’t have the basic figures about your aging parent’s finances. Plan to have a conversation with your parents. Have other family members present if possible.  Perhaps with their financial planner or elder law attorney.

~Choose a comfortable place with no distractions. Turn off television, phones and other electronic devices. Choose a time of day when your parents are at their best.

~Be calm and explain your concerns, acknowledging that money represents freedom, power, control, independence and support their rights to these things.

~Explain how sharing financial information will benefit them as you join them in planning for the coming years. Discuss some real possibilities of changes in health and need for care.

~Share your concerns and some of your own financial information in terms of where you are in your life and college expenses.

~Discuss financial scams which target Senior Citizens and that no one should ever give banking, credit card or Social Security numbers to anyone who calls them or comes to their home – uninvited.

~Most parents “Don’t Want to be a Burden” to their children and want to leave an Inheritance behind – address these feelings. Taking care of their financial health is a great way to NOT be a burden. Choosing a Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters is a good idea.

You may be surprised that your aging parents are relieved that you brought the subject up the topic of their finances and that the air is cleared. It is always best to address serious concerns and subjects at the time of your choosing, not in reaction to a crisis.