Q: I read your article about family and money. My family and I just do not discuss money matters with each other. Do you really think it’s that important?

A: Thank you for your comment and question! Yes, I do. Because no matter how private you are now, things have a way of becoming critical at which time privacy goes out the door. For example, what if a parent experiences dementia and can no longer manage their finances? Somebody is going to have to step in to help.

By discussing and getting a sense of where your parents (or parent) now stands financially, you’ll find out 1 of 3 things: that they’re great, that they’re in trouble, or that they’re fine for now, but the future is uncertain.

If they’re great, great. You may not have to go into a lot of details. It’s still important to discuss things like have they done an estate plan, who will be taking charge in case of incapacity, and what their incapacity plans are, if they are eventually unable to take care of themselves. Usually this comes down to staying in the home and hiring help, moving into assisted living, or receiving help from a family member – either your parents stay in the home or they move in with a son or daughter. The more in advance this can be discussed, the better. You don’t want to wait for a crisis to happen and be scrambling for a solution.

If you find out the future is uncertain, or they’re currently struggling, it can be a difficult conversation, but it’s better to know so you can troubleshoot the situation sooner than later. Consider consulting with a financial planner or if that’s not possible, look into local programs that will help you with resources for people in their later years. If you live in Colorado, let me know – I can pass along free resources for you and your parents.

Thanks for reading and please be in touch if you want help achieving YOUR money goals!