We all know the “sticky subjects” to be avoided at all costs at dinner parties, reunions, and with our parents or even adult children. We just agree to disagree…or even agree on silence being golden on those topics. Be sure, however, that money isn’t taken off the agenda completely. It’s important to talk with aging parents, or with your own adult children about personal finances, healthcare, and retirement. Keeping the lines of communication open on such subjects can lead to a greater understanding of expectations and needs of your parents…and it can ensure that your children know your wishes should you need their care in the future. This article can give you an idea of what you need to discuss, and it can even be passed along to begin the conversation!
Politics, religion, and family issues are among the topics that families tend to avoid discussing. It’s one way to keep peace during Thanksgiving.
But personal finances, healthcare, and retirement often are also on that list of forbidden topics. That can be a mistake.
Addressing such topics can lead to greater understanding among the generations, provide a full picture of family finances and expectations, and it also can ensure that your wishes will be considered if you become ill and need care.
Those are just some takeaways from an Ameriprise study, “Money Across Generations II.”
Supporting three generations
It found that more than half (54%) of baby boomers haven’t talked with their parents about what would happen if they experienced serious illness. And roughly one-third feel like they’ve not had adequate discussions with their parents about key financial issues, such as their wishes for financial accounts and long-term care.
The report also sheds light on how boomers have been spending money to support themselves, while also helping out aging parents and adult children.
Where are those dollars going?
Some boomers are helping their parents with buying groceries and paying medical and utility bills.
And 93% of boomers in the survey say they’ve provided some form of financial support to adult children. That includes paying college tuition or loans, letting kids live rent-free at home, or helping them to buy a car. Others spring for car and health insurance and living expenses, such as rent, car payments, and utility bills.
But putting needs of parents and kids above their own has long-term — and sometimes financially detrimental — consequences for boomers. It’s one reason Ameriprise recommends that families have open discussions about finances.
Starting the chat
Yet such topics are hard to broach. It’s why Ameriprise offers conversation starters for each of the three generations — those from age 18 -to 45, baby boomers, and those over the age of 66. The guides (www.beginyourconversation.com) provide a way to gently ease into difficult discussions.
The topics covered are:
- Helping family members
- Aging/long-term care
- Unexpected events
- Dreams and goals
- Job security
- Family financial conversations
Explore the full report at http://www.ameriprise.com. In the site’s search section, look for ” Money Across Generations II study.”