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Thread: Talking finances with older parents

  1. #1
    Senior Member RosieTR's Avatar
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    Talking finances with older parents

    Any good websites/books/guides? My parents and MIL are in sound mind and I think finances. But better to have these conversations now, and they can be awkward, than when folks start to falter. It'd be nice to have some guidebooks, kwim?

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    As an older parent, I am somewhat amused that you feel that they have not already done extensive thinking and research into finances but your thought is well-intentioned.

    I would ask them for advice on some good books that they have found on financial planning for the long-term and talk about your own circumstances seeking their input and perception of need in the future.

    What older adults find really annoying is the assumption that their kids need to do their thinking for them rather than openly recognizing that they have a lot of wisdom to share, IMHO anyway.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    People of any age can do whatever they want with their finances.

    The only thing that helps, is when parents have a guide to their various accounts in writing, so whoever handles their estate knows where to find everything.

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    What do you do if a parent is basic letting a sibling bankrupt them or nearly close to it and so they constantly wonder if bills will get paid and run up debt they hide from financial advisors? Nothing one can do I suppose (as they are not mentally incompetent), carry on and worry about one's own life. Out of one's hands. Maybe it all works out, if not there's always things like reverse mortgages to tap some money I guess.

    To assume my parents ever read books on financial planning for the future, seem bizarre, such a thing never happened. But then a lot of planning that did go on was for a different world, one in which interest rates were not zero pretty much. The planning was save money, interest rates at the bank will pay 6%, all is well. Shows you what a complete joke planning is. I could talk about my own circumstances to my surviving parent, but no one really cares. One's own circumstances are really one's own problem.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    What do you do if a parent is basic letting a sibling bankrupt them or nearly close to it and so they constantly wonder if bills will get paid and run up debt they hide from financial advisors? Nothing one can do I suppose (as they are not mentally incompetent), carry on and worry about one's own life. Out of one's hands. Maybe it all works out, if not there's always things like reverse mortgages to tap some money I guess.

    To assume my parents ever read books on financial planning for the future, seem bizarre, such a thing never happened. But then a lot of planning that did go on was for a different world, one in which interest rates were not zero pretty much. The planning was save money, interest rates at the bank will pay 6%, all is well. Shows you what a complete joke planning is. I could talk about my own circumstances to my surviving parent, but no one really cares. One's own circumstances are really one's own problem.
    Finamcial planning is not a complete joke.

    but carry on.

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    I know in Roz Chast's book about dealing with her elderly parents, she found, to her surprise, that her recalcitrant parents really opened up to a financial expert that she hired. Somehow they would tell him things they would not even discuss with her. So if it turns out your parents and MIL need some help but would be embarrassed to admit what they don't know, a neutral 3rd party might be best.

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    What do you consider older? Recently our son was asking how much money we had. I told him "enough". He continued and I said "none of your business". I feel really weird talking to him (or anyone for that matter) about how much money we have. We are very savvy with our finances and, surely, don't need help. I did tell him where the information for all our accounts was located in case we should pass. Other than that... I think he can wait to find out.

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    I'd happily work out a deal, no inheritance in return for not being left to pay other people's debt I can't (ie I don't' care about inheritance just try not to go bankrupt - please .... because I can't save you - I'm not rich and never will be so no I really can't).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lainey View Post
    I know in Roz Chast's book about dealing with her elderly parents, she found, to her surprise, that her recalcitrant parents really opened up to a financial expert that she hired. Somehow they would tell him things they would not even discuss with her. So if it turns out your parents and MIL need some help but would be embarrassed to admit what they don't know, a neutral 3rd party might be best.
    I loved that book. It was hilarious in a true to life way.

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    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    I don't know what the OP's concerns were, but I have some about my parents. Dad is 91, Mom is 86. He's done every jot of financial work and planning and bill paying since day 1, and his health is starting to go downhill. Neither one of them wants to look at what that might mean for her future. They're well set up as far as having planned well and having enough money. I don't know what I will inherit and I don't really care, I'm fine too, but I'm concerned about the day to day management of a very complex portfolio by someone who knows nothing about it, and I will literally blow a gasket if she winds up being taken for 20% of her net worth by someone at Morgan Stanley or Edward Jones when I am perfectly capable of helping her. And no, I don't have any advice on a good book, I'd love one.

    Was that Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Wonderful book, although not exactly a reference.

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