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Discussing Retirement with Your Family

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In a prior blog, we’ve covered what a dream retirement lifestyle may look like. Other discussions have centered on the importance of planning for retirement or the array of retirement vehicles available. But what about the process of retirement planning itself?

Retirement planning isn’t limited to just people and their advisors. When someone reaches retirement age, support networks become important. Responsibilities shift. Family members are actively involved in their parents’ caretaking. Or they may take on the role of caretaker for their parents.

When one’s parents get older, it may be time to discuss their financial planning. Asking about these matters could be uncomfortable, but it’s important for everyone to know what to expect. For instance, what might long-term health or care needs look like? What role will your family play in the process? Or what measures are put in place for when one’s parents pass away?

It should be a conversation that is filled with respect and tactfulness. Here are some things to consider when having this discussion.

What are Some Points to Remember?


Approach the topic with care and thoughtfulness. Anyone’s finances are a complex subject matter. When approaching your parents about their financial planning, be sure to clearly articulate a strong reason for why you’re doing so. For instance, is it because of their age or health?

Cover what the future may look like. Discussion points should include any concerns about your parents’ health, medical needs, caregiving preferences, living setting preferences, and expenses. Other points may include medical or life insurance coverage they may have.

It’s also important to discuss what will happen when your parents pass away – for one, where are their important documents? What are their assets or liabilities? Do they own an annuity or life insurance policy, and will some liquidity be needed to cover estate taxes?

Start having the conversation early. If you wait too long to discuss your parents’ finances, your parents’ health may decline. Then your efforts to help ensure their financial plans are set may be more difficult. If your parents are hesitant to discuss their finances, be understanding. Tell them you care and have concerns for them, their health, and the future. Financial discussions are an involved process, and it may assist your parents in understanding your interest in having a conversation about their plans.

Ask about details of finances. Communicate to your parents it’s in everyone’s best interest that you know the details of their finances. After all, you want to understand their plans and wishes for the future. Once your parents feel comfortable in discussing these matters, it’s a good idea to determine if they have life insurance.

If they do, find out what sort of life insurance policy they have. Learning what policies they hold and their intentions for the death benefit will assist you in knowing what to expect in the future. This same principle applies to other assets, as well.

Respect your parents’ autonomy. Ultimately, any attempts at having a financial discussion with your parents should be rooted in respect. After all, they’re your parents. It’s important to remember and value that. Sometimes asking to discuss financial matters can stir up emotions or negativity. Be prepared ahead of time.

Also, approaching and discussing with your parents their financial matters is a process of careful thought and timing. You should be ready to respond to any sensitivities with love, gentleness, and care. Plus your parents’ reaction may provide insights into how you may want your children to handle discussing your financial plans in the future, too.

Need Help?

If you're ready for personal guidance with your retirement financial future, SafeMoney.com can help you. Use our Find a Licensed Advisor section to connect directly with an independent financial professional, and to request a personal strategy session to discuss your needs and goals. And should you have any questions or concerns, call 877.476.9723.

Author: Super User

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