I am sure many a parent has wished they had the “birds and bees” conversation with their teen, when said teen discloses there is a grandchild on the way.
Well let me tell you, when the script is turned and the parent is telling you, their adult child, that they don’t have money for retirement and your stomach drops through the floor along with all the financial plans you were making for yourself, you are really going to wish you had that money conversation.
I know this from bitter personal experience and it is like a punch to the gut as you watch all the carefully laid financial steps you have taken, rapidly unravel.
Growing up in my household there were very clearly demarcated No Entry conversational topics that we somehow knew were not to be ventured past. And as I buried my head in the sand rather than tackle them, I was unconsciously being taken along for the ride as my mother hurtled down her path of financial destruction .
I have daily regrets over not having that conversation and am still letting her get away with the no talk policy as I valiantly try to keep my personal finances on track while equally trying to fund her needs. And all this because I can’t scale the walls of the biggest taboo – the money talk with the parent.
Don’t let this be you, please make today the day you bravely open the taboo door to see if there are any money monsters lurking in there. Being forewarned is forearmed!
Here are a few topics I wish I had discussed as well as some I still need to get up the courage to discuss. Let’s make a pact here to set this talk as a must do in our calenders and to take action to tackle it!
The have you financially planned for retirement conversation
This conversation is best handled with extreme delicacy as you don’t want to come across as the know all finger pointer. However if it turns out your parents are well prepared and have taken well considered steps to be retirement ready, what an excellent find! You have on hand experts to guide you in your own planning and should have been having this conversation with your parents years ago.
If however a money monster lurks behind that conversation that is brutally tough to find out. It is going to get tougher however because whatever form of help you can give to your parents has to be after you have taken care of your own retirement plans and goals. The last thing you want to create is an ongoing legacy of your children having to face the same challenge you are facing with your parents.
I cannot emphasise enough that you need to have this conversation early enough that your parents can still put in years of work and still have time to build up some sort of nest egg. Believe me finding out later in your parents’ life takes away a whole host of options.
How do they want to spend their retirement years
This conversation somewhat plays into the being financially prepared for retirement one. It is important as well though because it will go a long way to assessing the viability and longevity of the financial steps they have taken.
We are all living longer and need to be very cognisant of this in our planning as our money is going to have to last a lot longer than we may have predicted. Also along with living longer comes a whole host of potential health care concerns. Oftentimes the longer life span means a lot longer requirement for long term care in our later years.
This gives rise to having the “Have you got a Long Term Care policy “ conversation as well. It is imperative you have this particular one early as the earlier you get this in place the less expensive it is likely to be.
The worst case scenario conversation
The Death and disability conversation is the pinnacle of depressing talk and frankly one that isn’t comfortable at any age.
However if we are to honour our parents and ensure their dignity is protected and their wishes are executed we need to establish this in the good times when we can talk and plan from a healthy place rather than us second guessing their wishes when we are dealing with stress and grief at a totally different point in their life equation.
This means planning for their documents to be stored in an easily accessible readily identifiable place. Ensuring they have a properly executed up to date will. Understanding their burial wishes and how the costs will be provided for and putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place to ensure you or someone your parents trust is able to manage their financial and personal affairs on their behalf.
I think about the conversations I still need to have with my mother, and although a poor excuse I am slightly hampered by the fact that we live in different countries, but what I do know is that to really give myself financial peace of mind as well as giving my mother the dignity and respect of having a clear future path, this is a conversation I cannot delay any longer, please make it one you prioritise as well.
Remember the airline rule – always put your own oxygen mask on before helping others? Take care of your own money so that you can take care of others. Grab the automation cheatsheet to get started.