Touchy Subject: “Helping them with their Financial Affairs”


When Aarav’s mother fell and broke her shoulder, he understood that the time has come to talk about a very crucial topic – “Financial Affairs.” When he raised this topic she just slammed and said – “I shall die on my bed, but I don’t want to be dependent.”

After two years of this episode, she got tired and gave up, she finally relented. Aarav was relieved, and when he came to office he told me that she finally agreed. I asked him – “Who agreed and for what?” He sighed and said – “Mom agreed that I could assist her with her financial affairs.” He sounded pretty relieved.

A number of parents are reluctant to take financial aid from their children when they grow old. This especially happens when our parents have been financially independent all their life. However, Aarav was quite happy that his mom agreed while there was still time to plan and set everything right.

As parents grow old, a number of children find themselves in an unchartered territory when their parents think that it’s a taboo to talk to children about their financial worries. As parents grow old they tend to encounter a number of mental and physical disabilities which certainly curbs their independence.

Dreading a tender conversation:

Normally, a number of adult children are hesitant to talk about financial planning, and plainly avoid it until they identify alarming signs. This usually happens when children notice that a parent is finding it difficult to manage his/her finances. This is when the electricity gets turned off, the teakettle burns dry, because the bills haven’t been paid or if the parent is in debts or got into fraudulent schemes. But normally, children avoid this until a parent’s money has been squandered.

It’s obvious that children will postpone talking about such topics mainly because it is difficult to talk to a father who has always managed to hold his head high by keeping money worries to himself. Or here in case of Aarav, whose mother is already depressed because of financial problems and poor health. Will you be able to tell that dad to put his house, investments, and bank account details in front of you so that you can help him. This will surely shatter him completely.

All parents are aware of the fact that they will have to lean on their child one fine day. This reversal of role becomes very difficult to accept for a few of them. This is the main reason behind parents avoiding financial discussion with their children. Apart from this, the subject can also ignite the fact that their power to run the affairs will soon be gone. These conversations are certainly essential, but adult children unintentionally make a big mistake patronizing their parents. Indulging in a heart-to-heart conversation with one’s parent about managing his/her assets is never going to be easy. However, a few approaches might get desired results.

Explain them:

According to experts, it is better to speak from the heart and let your parents know that you wish that your parents get best financial advice so that they always remain financially independence and which in turn, will help them have better control over their lives. Aarav did the same thing, and this helped his mother understand that all this brainstorming would help her stay empowered all her life.

Choose words carefully:

According to Ed Pittock, “Older adults are not very comfortable with words like ‘giving responsibility to someone else’ or ‘transfer assets.’ They wish to remain in control.” Hence, it is better to use words like, ‘I wish to ensure that you financially comfortable all your life.”

Indirect approach:

Understand that an indirect approach will make the situation less upsetting and provocative. For example, you can choose to raise the topic with a friend whose unexpected illness brought a lot of financial chaos. Maybe talking about such situations might inspire a parent to come up with similar troubles.

Financial matters are very sensitive, children should talk about the same in a way that ensures parents that they will not lose their importance in the family because they are taking your help. Make them understand that it’s just the helping Patten that changes and nowhere will it affect relationships and importance.

Updated: November 25, 2016 — 5:36 pm

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