When is the Right Time to Discuss Finances with Your Elderly Parents?

Discussing finances with your aging parents can be a sensitive subject. While it may be tempting to put off “the talk” until an eventual crisis forces you to say something, a proactive approach to open and honest dialogue benefits everyone involved. If you have avoided the topic, here are some tips to begin a healthy conversation and prepare for financial success together.  

Consider Discussion Timing with Care 

When discussing family finances, it may seem like the timing is never right. Money is taboo in numerous homes because parents feel obligated to shoulder all the financial burdens. Unfortunately, many parents are not quite ready to hand over financial responsibility, so it is best to approach the matter with understanding, patience, and solutions that address the needs of everyone involved.  

It is never too early to have these conversations, and often, the sooner you show a sincere interest in preserving your family’s financial well-being, the better. Ideally, it is best to have these discussions while your parents are still of sound mind and health. Establish an open platform where you can discuss financial concerns, needs, and desires. So, what is the best way to address these topics without creating tension, judgment, or defensiveness?  

Introduce the Topic in a Relaxed Setting 

There are several ways you can begin a peaceful and solution-oriented financial dialogue. Instead of demanding answers, consider approaching the subject with genuine curiosity, calmness, and a helpful attitude. For example, you can ask questions about retirement tips, seek advice on improving personal finances, or mention concerns about supporting your loved ones in the future. 

When the conversation starts with legitimate questions and concerns about your situation, parents are naturally inclined to share their best advice and lower their defenses. This advice often leads to deeper discussion and may provide the stepping stone towards other subjects related to inheritance, available retirement funds, and end-of-life considerations.  

Empathize & Present Helpful Solutions 

Plan out what you want to say and how you will say it beforehand. Instead of approaching the situation with a mindset of, “What can your inheritance do for me?”, provide realistic ideas and plans to protect the entire family. When your parents agree and understand that managing finances is a shared responsibility, you can dig deeper into other sensitive financial topics to better protect everyone involved.  

Whether your parents are dealing with health concerns, financial burdens, or are well-prepared for retirement, offering a helping hand in managing the family’s finances may be a welcomed relief. Once you have successfully navigated these meaningful conversations together, your parents may be open to any additional input you may have. You can share your knowledge of investments, discuss valuable resources, or help with their retirement budgeting; you may find that your parents are more than happy to include you in all their future financial planning.  

Tyler Plack

About the Author, Tyler Plack

South River Mortgage is one of the nation's top reverse mortgage originators. With a focus on reverse mortgages, South River Mortgage's trustworthy advisors are able to help thousands of seniors each year.

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