Why Avoiding The Money Talk Can Leave Your Family Unprepared

Your adult children want to talk about your finances, says Fidelity’s 2014 Intra-Family Generational Finance Study. In fact, they want to talk about your money now, before you’ve even retired. Nearly 64 percent of parents and children disagree about the right timing for conversations about money, and not knowing is stressing your adult children out.

It’s not just that they want to know what to expect from your Last Will and Testament (though that would make their financial planning a little easier). They’re worried about you. They want to know if you are able to fund your retirement, health care, and eldercare. They need to know in what ways you may need their support.

And yes, they need to know now.

Many adult children are more than willing to help support their parents’ financial needs if retirement funds fall short, but they need to factor those needs into their own savings plans. Giving your children substantial notice of whether, or not, you’ll require additional funds from them (or if you’re planning on moving in during your twilight years) will help them adequately prepare. Maybe they’ll build you a guest house.

But, while 75 percent of adult children and parents agree that these conversations are important, the fact is that most of these talks are brief and vague. A full 40 percent of parents reported that they’ve never gone into detail on their financial standing.

5 Reasons to Have the Money Talk with Your Adult Kids

  1. Avoid misunderstandings that severely hamper adult children’s ability to adequately plan for their financial futures. In the study, more than a quarter of children expected to have to help their parents financially, but nearly all parents (96 percent) reported that they would not need help.
  2. Finally feel “very prepared” for retirement – 30 percent of parents who had detailed conversations with their children were more likely to report feeling ready for retirement.
  3. Enjoy a 72 percent increased likelihood that you’ve already factored in your potential health care costs to your retirement plan.
  4. Reap the benefits of more peace of mind – 93 percent of parents who had the talk about wills and estate planning reported feeling better about their affairs.
  5. Help your children better handle the stress of having aging parents by working with them to form a plan for the future.

While many parents feel that their retirement, estate planning, and wills are their business and nobody else’s – adult children stand ready to offer help and support. They think you need it, unless you tell them otherwise within an explicit conversation about your financial future. Having the money talk will help them plan to help you, or at least let them know that you don’t need it.

Think you’ve already had the talk? Here’s one last statistic to leave you with: 60 percent of parents who had money conversations reported including logistics and details about wills and estate planning. However, only 42 percent of adult children thought their parents gave detailed information.

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