Calhoun Times

Don’t avoid ‘taboo’ topics with older parents

- This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial advisor.

If your parents are getting close to retirement age, or are already retired, it may be time to talk with them about financial and aging issues, some of which may involve difficult conversati­ons.

For the sake of everyone in your family, don’t avoid these “taboo” topics.You’ll need to be careful about approachin­g these subjects with your parents.

Mention ahead of time that you’d like to talk to them about their future plans and reassure them that you want to understand their wishes, so their affairs will be taken care of as they would like.

If your parents are agreeable, choose a location comfortabl­e for them and ask whom they might like to invite (or not invite). Then, think about how to open the conversati­on, preferably not with what they want to do with their money — this could be interprete­d as your seeking informatio­n about your inheritanc­e or being skeptical about their financial decisions.

Instead, build a broad-based discussion about their vision for their aging years. A series of shorter conversati­ons may allow you to cover topics more comfortabl­y, one by one, rather than trying to solve everything at once.

Try to address these areas:


You’ll want to learn if your parents have establishe­d the appropriat­e healthrela­ted legal documents — a health care power of attorney, which gives someone the authority to make important decisions about their medical care if they become unable to do so themselves, and a living will, which spells out the extraordin­ary medical treatments they may or may not want.


As people age, they may begin to lose their independen­ce. Have your parents considered any options for long-term care, such as a nursing home stay, or the services of a home health aide? And do they have plans in place? If they plan to receive support from family members, do their expectatio­ns match yours?


Focusing on the personal and financial aspects of the legacy your parents want to leave can be a valuable conversati­on. Have your parents updated their will or other arrangemen­ts, such as a living trust? Have they named a financial power of attorney to make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacita­ted? Do they have the proper beneficiar­y designatio­ns on their insurance policies and retirement plan accounts? If you can position these issues as being more about your parents’ control over their financial destiny, rather than “who will get what,” you’ll more likely have a productive conversati­on.


You’ll want to find out if your parents have left instructio­ns in their will about their funerals and last wishes. Express to them that you, or another close family member, should know who is responsibl­e for making sure their wishes are met.

Money, independen­ce and aging can be sensitive topics. Don’t think you have to go it alone — you can enlist help from another close family member. Or, if you know your parents are working with a trusted advisor, such as an attorney or financial profession­al, you could see if they’d be willing to have this person participat­e in your talks. You might even be able to introduce them to one of your advisors.

In any case, keep talking. These conversati­ons can be challengin­g, but, if handled correctly, can be of great benefit to your parents and your entire family.

 ?? ?? Bowen

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