Your Parents, Their Money


by Joy Loverde

We’ve all been raised to be polite, and never discuss the subject of money with our parents. Instead, we wonder, worry and wait. How will they pay for in-home care? How much of my own money am I expected to spend if they need help?

Sticker Shock

While parent-care expenses vary significantly by region, few people are prepared to pay the steep prices associated with living a long life:

  • In-home care averages $150 a day.
  • Assisted-living can run $6,000 a month.
  • Home remodeling can run thousands of dollars for outdoor ramps and adjusting counter heights and door widths.
  • Transportation vans when driving is no longer an option can run up a hefty tab
  • And what about special diets, hearing aids, and dental care?

Importantly, Medicare, the federal health insurance plan for people over 65 years of age does not cover the care and assistance many people require as they age.   The possibility of shelling out thousands of dollars to cover parents’ expenses may be closer to reality than we’d like to admit.

Broach the “Big Talk”

Talking to parents about remaining fiscally fit starts now – before a financial crisis comes raining down on everybody.  Ask them leading questions to alert you of potential problems:

Do you have a plan in place to pay for long-term care?

Have you given any thought to seeking professional financial advice?

I found a helpful article on paying for long-term care. May I send you a copy?

Seize the moment. Any conversation they initiate regarding money is an opportunity to ask more questions. For example, you might say, “Yes, the cost of groceries sure has me on a pretty tight budget. How about you?” Or, “How can anyone afford a new roof these days?” Speaking in terms of questions, rather than statements creates a non-threatening communication environment.

Resist the temptation to “take over.” If Mom and Dad refuse to engage in a conversation with you about finances, change the subject and bring it up again in a week or two.  Keep in mind they have probably given this subject more thought than you realize.