Discussing Retirement with Your Parents

Green Settlements Staff

Not everyone considers the family finances a suitable topic for dinner table conversation. Years of dancing around the subject only makes the inevitable discussions more uncomfortable. It’s never too early to talk about retirement with your parents. Check out our advice for getting these discussions started.

Set the Stage

Don’t blindside your parents. They should enter this conversation with an idea of what to expect. Ideally, they’ll even come prepared with the relevant information and documents. Select a time and place that will encourage a rational, even-handed conversation.

Do as much research as possible ahead of time. What does your parents’ financial situation look like? How much support can you afford to provide? What other options are available? Preparation will go a long way toward a productive conversation.

Advise, Don’t Prescribe

Nobody likes being told what to do. Parents, in particular, don’t like taking orders from their children. Keep this in mind as you initiate the conversation around retirement and let it define your terms and tone throughout. Instead of framing things in terms of what your parents “should do,” discuss options in terms of the opportunity they might provide.

Make your motivations clear from the outset. Ensure your parents that you’ve got their best interests in mind and that your concern is not criticism. Remind them that you’re not trying to take control of their lives, but help make their lives as comfortable as possible in retirement.

Get Support

You don’t have to enter this (potentially uncomfortable) conversation on your own. In fact, if you and your spouse have shared finances, you really shouldn’t. If you’ve got siblings, inform them of your plans and try to get them involved. Your parents’ retirement plans are, after all, a concern for the whole family.

You might also consider consulting an expert ahead of the initial conversation. With their guidance, you’ll come ready to speak with authority and answer some of the questions your parents might have.

Make Retirement an Ongoing Discussion

In all likelihood, you won’t develop a full-fledged retirement plan in a single conversation. Make the subject an ongoing conversation. Also, keep in mind that your efforts to support your parents in their retirement shouldn’t get in the way of your own retirement plans. Determine how much you can afford to help, lay out ground rules, and establish a framework for ongoing discussions. With thoughtful, careful planning, there’s no reason both you and your parents can’t save effectively and retire happily.

Are your parents already retired and struggling financially? A life settlement could help. Contact Green Settlements to learn more about how selling life insurance policies can help seniors regain financial independence.

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