Liz Weston: How to talk money with your parents this holiday | Lifestyles

If you want to talk to your parents about money, consider the following steps.


Goyer bristles when people talk about having to “parent their parents” because the phrase sounds disrespectful to her. Having a superior or condescending attitude toward your parents, or trying to tell them what they should do, will just make the conversation harder, she says.

“Even though your role changes, you are still their child, and therefore they deserve your respect,” Goyer says.

Instead, research some options in advance so you can present choices to your parents rather than issuing orders. If they don’t have long-term care insurance, for example, they might be able to sell investments or tap their home equity to pay for a nursing home stay. If they don’t have an advanced directive or other estate planning documents, you could offer to help them use estate planning software or find them an estate planning attorney. If bills aren’t being paid, you can offer to set up autopayments, take over bill paying or find a daily money manager who will do it for a fee.

“The point is for them to get what they want — that their wishes will be adhered to,” Goyer says.

How you broach the topic will depend on your family dynamics. An indirect approach would be to mention that you read an article on the topic or saw something on TV about it, or that you’re doing similar planning for yourself.

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