by Joy Loverde
Award-winning journalist and Reuters contributor, Chris Taylor recently wrote an insightful article titled, Why nobody talks about money.
Chris backs up his findings with a study conducted by Wells Fargo & Co. that explains, “44% of Americans point to personal finances as the most challenging chat anyone can possibly have.”
So what’s going on here? In a society that is ostensibly one of the wealthiest in the world, why is everyone so frightened to talk about this subject? Is it a family trait of silence? Is it fear of being taken advantage of? Fear of being judged?
Historically, few people have had the experience of hearing parents and other family members talk about money as they were growing up. Turns out, not having role models who carved the way has a lot to do with keeping up the tradition of remaining silent. Unfortunately, family silence has serious negative financial consequences.
Chris’ article further explains that not talking about money within the family also causes people not to know how to make plans once the money starts to roll in as well as not having the skills to stick to a budget. Yikes!
I am compelled to expand upon this topic because I know all too well that financing a longer life (people are living a third longer than they thought they would) is the number one family-caregiver issue. And whatever the reason for avoiding talking about money within the family, remaining silent is not in your best interest.
Talking about eldercare issues and planning for the financial stability of the family isn’t easy. Who wants to hash over such unpleasant topics such as illness and funeral arrangements when aging parents seem perfectly fine? But taking the easy road now and avoiding financial discussions will eventually backfire when complex problems reveal themselves and the emotional (and financial) stability of the entire family is on shaky ground.
Silence hurts YOU.
Be brave. Take a deep breath, and jump in. You’ll discover a wealth of talking tips by reading the “Communicaring” chapter in my book, The Complete Eldercare Planner (Random House, 2009).
The best time to initiate money conversations is right now when (hopefully) your parents are mentally competent and can make their own choices and decisions. Family members rarely realize that many of the “emergencies” they end up confronting could have been avoided by planning. Devising an effective caregiving plan requires ongoing, thoughtful communication among all parties.
Once you actually get started talking about it, you will realize that it's not as scary a subject as you thought
Until next time.