Father and son walk together on the beach and talk about money.

How to talk to your parents about money

Talking to elderly parents about finances can be complicated. Here are some helpful tips to help you break the ice and have a productive dialogue.

54% of adults in the U.S. provide either medical, personal or financial support to older adults, with the majority being their aging parents. It can be uncomfortable talking with your parents about their financial needs as they grow older, but you might consider having these conversations in case of an emergency. Prepare yourself with an estate planning checklist and a few questions to ask yourself as you approach a conversation about money with your parents.

How do you approach the conversation effectively?

Try to find a time with few distractions when everyone is feeling relaxed — this may help start things off on the right foot. You might initiate the conversation casually by sharing your own estate plans and soliciting their input. This could open the door to learning more about their finances and understanding how you can help. If you feel there are issues with their current financials or desired financial plan, it’s important to make your concerns known, but try to come from a place of understanding and support and not be overly critical.

Discussing money with your parents can stir up uncomfortable feelings, but having these conversations sooner rather than later can help you support your parents as they age and serves as a reminder to think about boosting your own retirement savings.

What topics do you want to cover?

Now that you've considered how to talk about money with your parents, think about what information you need from them. You'll probably want to discuss their current living expenses and how those costs might change in the future. Consider who will be providing care for your parents and get a sense of their preferences for caregiving and other healthcare-related options. For example:

  • Do they have an estate plan in place? Have they considered their digital estate plan?
  • Are they open to eventually moving to a retirement community or an assisted living facility? In their minds, what would the circumstances look like leading up to this?
  • How much money do they have in savings? How long will their savings last in their current situation?
  • Can you help them with financial tasks such as setting up automatic bill payments?
  • Are they aware of scams targeting seniors like phishing or identity theft?
  • Are they on Medicare and are there any gaps in their coverage?
  • Do they have long-term care insurance?

You might also want to discuss legal provisions, such as whether they have an estate plan or a living will.

As you begin helping elderly parents with finances, it may be beneficial to also know some common estate planning mistakes so you can avoid them.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

Neither State Farm nor its agents provide tax or legal advice.

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