Financial Planning for Aging Parents: 3 Helpful Steps You Can Take
It’s fun to talk with family about holiday traditions or summer plans. It’s fun to talk about how fast the kids are growing. However, discussions around financial planning may not fall into the same category. These conversations are often pushed off until a medical crisis or other event makes avoidance no longer possible.
If your parents are aging rapidly, you may feel compelled to sit down with them and talk about some plans. Here are three suggestions that may ease the stress a bit:
1 Plan ahead and start small. This isn’t a conversation to bring up while you’re carving the turkey at Thanksgiving. Instead, let your parents know that you’d like to talk with them about their preferences as they age, and set a time that’s compatible with their schedule. If you have siblings, let them know that you plan to have this conversation and invite them to participate.
It’s a good idea to keep this first conversation broad and consider it an introduction to what will likely be many conversations around financial planning. They may have more steps in place than you anticipated, or they may be relieved to have help in making plans. There’s also a good chance that they will have complicated emotions about this discussion, and may feel guarded about disclosing information.
2 Discuss their vision. First, it’s a good idea to express your desire for their comfort and fulfillment of their wishes. Then ask them what they have in mind for a living situation as they age. Do they envision a place in assisted living, or would they prefer having assistance in their own home? If they’ve always assumed they’d come live with you, it’s a good idea to have that conversation early.
You should also discuss finances and how they’ll pay for the living situation they anticipate having. Maybe this is a good time to review finances and discuss whether there’s a will in place. They may have an executor in mind or a power of attorney they would like to name. This can be an emotional conversation, as you and your siblings may have different ideas for what you’d like to see next. Prepare to honor your parents’ wishes as much as possible.
3 Handle disagreements wisely. Even if you and your siblings share a close relationship with one another and with your parents, opinions can vary strongly when considering how to care for aging parents. If you and your siblings are at an impasse, consider hiring a professional mediator, who can help sort out challenges and come to resolutions with more confidence.
A well-grounded investment plan can help with these changes and the challenges they may bring. Our team at Lawson Kroeker can help you stay the course when it’s time for a life transition. Let’s talk about your particular situation and the steps that make sense for you as you move forward.