Talking about money with family members is never easy. What’s even harder is if you are the child trying to talk about money with your parent(s), and harder still if you are an adult trying to talk about money with your Depression-era parents.
People who have lived through the Depression tend to have different thoughts about money and often regard it as private — even within the family. They learned a silence about money that was meant to stop or hide worries, but now could actually create more of them. The New York Times recently offered a few suggestions on how to talk about money and
estate planning with Depression-era parents:
Parental Duty: Sometimes framing the conversation in terms of how you are worried for them
will trigger “the silence.” Instead, try to remind them that you are concerned whether they have
done the right thing in terms of handling their estates. This type of conversation may trigger a
sense of “parental duty,” which people from this era generally take very seriously.
Use Yourself as an Example: You can begin talking about your own concerns, strategies, and
plans and even ask for advice. Use that as an opportunity to ask your parents about how they
may have handled their own plans.
Professional Assistance: Some parents may also feel more comfortable discussing their
financial situation in front of a disinterested party, like a longtime accountant, lawyer or
financial planner. The trouble here is that many parents will be wary of the cost of professional
assistance, but if you offer to help with the cost, or cover it entirely, they may be more willing to
schedule an appointment.
The final advice is to use good timing. If you’re looking for a way to bring up the topic, you might consider sharing a recent issue of our enewsletter, like the October issue that focuses on Family Matters.