3 Uncomfortable but Necessary Money Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents
Your parents have always been the ones to take care of you from the time you were in diapers until you’re an adult – and in some ways, for the rest of your (or their) lives too. But once you become an adult, it’s time to give back to the most selfless people in your life. It’s time for you to take care of them.
Other than making sure that they are healthy and comfortable, it is also your job to make sure that they are financially stable so that they can live comfortably in their old age that may be approaching or is already here. Yes, talking about being responsible with money to the people you had begged for $5 may seem uncomfortable, but it is absolutely necessary!
Here are some questions to get you started on the crucial conversation about their finances.
1. Are you saving for retirement?
As an adult, you should have begun saving for your own retirement already, which means your parents should already have a sizable sum stowed away for the day that is getting closer and closer. It’s not just their business, because you may need to begin chipping in soon enough too. Having that uncomfortable conversation now can save you from feeling blindsided or overburdened in the future.
Ask them if they have any outstanding debt, money that they are owed in whatever form and if they are financially stable. If they are not working with a reliable financial planner already, it’s a good idea to get started. A professional will be able to help them get their financial needs sorted while also helping in investing money. This way, they can retire comfortably and take care of themselves.
2. Are you aware of all the options available for long-term care of medical treatments that may be necessary in the future?
No one wants to think about dying or being so incapacitated that they can’t even make their own decisions, but that’s why it’s important to hash it out when one is of sound mind. It’s never too early to think about these things, but you don’t want to wait until it’s too late.
Health and medical treatment-related decisions are not easy to make, but having a plan will ensure that they are treated in the way they want. What are their personal and religious beliefs and values? What kind of treatments would they be comfortable with? Do they want to kept alive through machines if they stop breathing? Are their organs to be donated in the case of death?
They would also need to appoint a power of attorney (also known as a healthcare agent or proxy) for situations where they are unable to make decisions for themselves and deciding their end-of-life medical care.
3. Do you have a will and where is it?
One of the most important parts of financial planning that a person has to do is drawing up a will. When it comes to your parents’ will, you’ll want to make sure that you’re aware of all their assets and what they want to be done with them once they are gone. It’s also a good idea to ensure that all the original documents are present and that the paperwork is up-to-date.
Having an appointed power of attorney is also important in the case of financial matters. Just like with healthcare, this person is given the right to make decisions on behalf of them when they are unable to.