You finally have a good relationship with your parents. So why rock the boat talking about touchy subjects? Ever consider that what you do not talk about could end up hurting them and you?
Life expectancy across the globe is on the rise. And will likely only continue to rise as medicine and science advances increase at a faster rate than before. Do your parents have enough put away for a long retirement? These and other questions are essential for an easy transition into retired life. Doing so will also mean less worry on your part during your parents’ golden years.
Where to start? What to talk about? How to broach these sometimes difficult to talk about issues without coming across as callous? Here’s a primer to help you get started.
With longer life expectancy comes the need for more stored away to match. Pensions might not cover it anymore. Talking with one’s parents about their finances may seem invasive to some, or hurt their pride, if it is a point of sensitivity. But not talking about it could put all parties into hot water later on down the line. Better to have difficult conversations now, when there is still time to make plans.
Broaching a topic like this takes finesse. Put out feelers. Start by sharing your own financial situation and what you are doing to look to the future. In some situations, parents may have unspoken hopes for financial help from their children. By talking about your current financial situation, you can share whether you are factoring this into the equation. Another way to begin talking about retirement funds is to discuss the financial market, and ask if they have any concerns. Use articles as an ice breaker. Don’t think of it as one conversation that must be finalized in one afternoon. Rather, look at it as an ongoing open line of communication that will allow you to gently guide them if and when needed.
As parents age, matters of their health begin to affect their children. Increased doctor’s trips, medical bills, etc. All of these issues can add up and strain one’s relationship with their parents. Discussing any potential issues early on is a key to preventing undue stress concerning it. Encourage your parents to stay healthy. Provide information on fitness clubs and options that they would find interesting.
Talk with them about their health insurance. Right around retirement, over the 6 months that span their 65th birthday, they are eligible for Medicare. Websites like MedicareHealthPlans.com provide detailed explanations of available options. And can be a good starting point for discussion.
3. Will and estate plans.
According to one survey, 69 percent of parents believe they have had conversations on estate planning with their children. Whereas 52 percent of children say they had not. The confusion often arises on what needs to be discussed. The following are a list of topics that encompass will and estate plans:
- End of life wishes, also known as health care directives. For example, should CPR be given if you are terminally ill and the heart stops?
- Final wishes, including funeral and burial requests, etc.
- Wills or living trusts, documents that designate your parents’ wishes on property bequeathment.
- Will and trust executioners, power of attorney.
- Where all important information can be found in the case of their death or other incapacity.
Conversations about estate planning, in particular, can be difficult to have with one’s parents. And many avoid doing so believing that because their parents are currently in good health, they can put it off for the time being. But good intentions for future conversations are often forgotten. And it is in hindsight that individuals wish they had had them sooner. Taking action now can secure your parents’ finances, legacy, and your own peace of mind.