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Tips for Talking to Your Aging Parents About Their Finances and Future Care

Talking to your aging parents about their finances can be extremely difficult, but it can be important to ensuring they are supported and cared for in their later years. As parents grow older, they may find it harder to do the things they’ve always done, such as manage their day-to-day finances or make major decisions about money.

They may also have certain wishes regarding their long-term care or what they’d like done with their assets once they pass on. Having these conversations with your parents early on can help ensure you’re on the same page and help them make the best decisions for their needs.

However, approaching parents about this subject can be challenging, and parents may not always be receptive to getting advice from their adult children. To help make these matters easier for both parties, the financial experts of Kiplinger Advisor Collective each share one tip they’d give for how to approach this type of conversation with aging parents, and why implementing this tip can ensure everyone is happy.

Plan ahead so everyone is ready

“When approaching a topic like this, it’s important to keep in mind that you should always plan ahead for this conversation. Prioritize setting aside a time that works for you and your parents, so all parties can gather any materials and resources needed for the planning process, and so they can be thinking of their estate planning goals.” — Justin Donald, Lifestyle Investor

Choose a calm, stress-free time and environment

“Choose a comfortable, stress-free time and setting for the conversation. Initiating this talk in a calm environment with minimal stress and high emotions can help make your parents feel more at ease, promoting a more open and productive discussion. This approach is effective because it respects their feelings and autonomy, making them more receptive to discussing sensitive topics like finances.” — Greg Welborn, First Financial Consulting

Ask about their goals, hopes and desires

“When parents discuss their future lifestyle options, such as where and how they want to live, you can circle back and determine the financial impact of these choices. It doesn't start with their finances or financial status; it starts with their goals, hopes and desires and how to satisfy these goals. Money is only the vehicle.” — Deborah W. Ellis, Ellis Wealth Planning

Remind them they still have control

“Aging parents are enduring substantial loss of independence. The parent recognizes that they cannot physically do all that they used to do. Reaffirming that the parent retains a measure of control is important. I ask if their son or daughter can help pay bills and can be named as a trustee or attorney-in-fact. I remind the parent that they are in control and can change that in the future if they are healthy.” — John Goralka, The Goralka Law Firm

Be honest and sincere in your approach

“Approach the conversation with honesty and sincere care. Let them know and feel that you are having this conversation because you care for them and want to look out for them and help plan for them. Role-play before the conversation and put yourself in their shoes.” — Bob Chitrathorn, Wealth Planning

Frame the discussion around planning for the future

“From an NRI (non-resident Indian) perspective, it's crucial to approach the conversation with sensitivity and respect when discussing finances with aging parents. A good tip is to frame the discussion around planning for the future together, rather than taking over control. This approach fosters openness, ensuring they feel supported rather than cornered.” — Amrita Choudhary, Wasabi Technologies

Be a supporter, not an adviser

“Because I am the caregiver for my parents, this is an important topic for me. My tip for children helping their aging parents is this: You must allow your parents to remain independent. Help them understand that your goal is to assist them in continuing to live their lives. Approach the conversation as a supporter, not as an adviser. Bring experts into the conversations later to help with specific needs as they arise.” — Jason Vitug, Phroogal

Explain it's about their security and well-being

“Approach the conversation with empathy and respect, framing it as a discussion about ensuring their wishes and needs are met in the future. Start by expressing your care and the desire to support them, making it clear it’s about their security and well-being. This approach reduces defensiveness, opens lines of communication and fosters a collaborative atmosphere.” — Stephen Nalley, Black Briar Advisors

Build trust through compassion

“Trust is a big issue with aging parents. They are wise and can detect dishonest approaches and intent. Ask them compassionately how you can help them ensure their finances and care are carried out how they wish. This approach instills confidence and increases the chances that they will collaborate with you on the process.” — Dr. Preston D. Cherry, Concurrent Financial Planning

Remind them of how they've helped you

“In three decades as a financial counselor, I've seen only one approach succeed more often than it fails: turn the tables. Tell your parents you're applying financial lessons you either learned from them or learned because they raised you so well. Insist you're simply reminding them of what they taught you long ago. This takes the edge off their perceived lack of freedom and decision-making abilities.” — Howard Dvorkin,


This article was written by Kiplinger Advisor Collective from Kiplinger and was legally licensed through the DiveMarketplace by Industry Dive. Please direct all licensing questions to

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