Having The ‘Financial Conversation’ With Your Aging Parents

Hi everybody, this is Bridget Mackay with the Law Offices of Bridget Mackay in Petaluma, California. I want to talk a little bit about talking about money with between adult children and their older parents.

I did some digging around, or should I say, Cheyenne did some digging around for me. And we found some statistics in a Wells Fargo, actually, article where they conducted a survey with older adults and adult children. They defined older adults as 60 or over and adult children as 45 to 69 years old.

And it’s very interesting the way that these two generations look at money and future care and how parents view their children and children view their parents. I took a few statistics out for purposes of this video blog. The point being that, at some point, older adults or parents of adult children. It really is important to sit down and get transparent about your finances. For many reasons, not just necessarily to put an estate plan together or protect against probate. But, to really talk about what the expectations are of each other as you age and may need higher levels of involvement of your adult children in either your finances or even your everyday care.

But, here’s an interesting statistic. 81% of adult children want their parents to have a plan. And those older adults, parents of adult children, are more happy and satisfied and comfortable and when they have a plan going forward into their aging years. The other is when parents of adult children were asked areas, they may need help in as they age. The highest area that older adults felt they needed help in, maybe from their adult children, that 60% was actually taking care of their house or their garden or, you know, household tasks. Only 12% thought that they would need help in day-to-day things with their finances like paying bills. And that’s interesting to me, because that’s not the reality of what we see in our office, in our elder law practice.

More and more older adults are needing help with those day-to-day financial decisions and maintenance. Like paying bills, making decisions about purchases or refinances or rearranging things in order to pay for a high level, higher level of care in a long-term care incidents.

And, adult children are, which is not surprising, three times more worried than their parents about their parent’s finances. That does ring true in my practice and what I see. But unfortunately, with all of that, 34% of those adult children are uncomfortable about talking about money. Particularly their parent’s money with them. And 41% of those parents, older parents, say no one knows much about their money except maybe their spouse or how much money they have. And 72% say they tend to keep such conversations private.

So, the point of this is, is that we have the wrong mindset as we’re aging. And, adult children want to know things and older parents don’t want to tell them things. And, I know from my experience that runs into problems when an older parent does need help with something more than around the house.

So, I encourage you all to have frank, open conversations with your children, assuming you trust them. And, I encourage adult children to not be afraid to ask the tough financial questions of their parents. It’s more than whether or not your parents going to be driving or if you’re taking your driver’s license away. At the end of the day, you need to be aware of what they’re doing financially, and adult parents of adult children will be happier for it.

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