How To Talk To Your Parents About Money (And How Not To)
For a lot of us, our parents have always been the authority, so to switch roles and talk to them about hard things like death, money, or health concerns can be very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that leads to most of us avoiding these topics until our families are in crisis. The conversation may be difficult but the benefits far outweigh the discomfort. We have some tips on how to plan for and make it through the money talk without all the fuss.
Practice what you preach.
It's hard to begin a conversation about debt repayment, spending habits or future planning with a loved one when your own finances are a mess. Start by getting your families affairs in order. You're never too young to have a will drafted for yourself, and you're definitely never too young to eliminate debt. Have a plan in place for your families financial future, that way you can lead by example and have some tips on how to get started.
Start with a story or example.
There is no shortage of horror stories when it comes to money issues arising in the wake of someone's death. Wills should not be thought of as optional as you age. If you're having trouble broaching the topic of estate planning with a parent or loved one, start with a story that stuck with you about why it's important. If you have an example that hits closer to home, use it. Keep in mind that the point is not to scare them into action, but rather to make them think about the benefits of planning. An example could be what will happen if one of them passes before their partner.
Stay on topic.
Most all of us can sense an ulterior motive. If your goal is to find out who gets what when they pass, they will know and automatically go on the defensive. Don't let inheritance be your motivation for helping them. Make sure they know you don't care who they plan to leave things to and that your concern is simply that their wishes are honored and that they live with as much peace of mind as possible.
Have resources available.
Before you start the conversation have some resources available to give them, like the contact for an estate planner that was recommended to you, or a debt repayment plan that seems manageable. Whatever problem you'd like for them to tackle, offer to help and have a loose plan to execute if they take you up on it. Let them take the lead. Do your best not to tell them what to do, but simply offer suggestions and then listen when they tell you what they think. If they have a different idea of how to proceed, hear them out and help them to do it their way if it's possible. The more control that they maintain, the better.
Do you have tips on talking to loved ones about tough things? Share with us and the rest of the community below!