How to Talk to Your Parents about Retirement

May 14, 2020 | Lynn Morrison | HerMoney from Jean Chatzky

Stacy Miller, CFP® was recently featured in a HerMoney article titled How to Talk to Your Parents about Their Changing Retirement Plans. In it, author Lynn Morrison shares advice on how to talk to your parents about their financial situation, and why it is vitally important.

 This is the original text that Stacy shared:

People like me that fall into the “sandwich generation,” caring for ageing parents as well as children, should establish an open dialog on estate and retirement planning with their parent(s). Estate planning is just as important, because when you are grieving, it is challenging and stressful to figure these things out. They should be asking questions like: Do you have a Will? A Power of Attorney (POA)? A Living Will? Where are they? What is your current financial situation? Given COVID-19, how has your financial situation changed in the last several weeks? Who is your financial advisor? How would I contact them if necessary? Do you have long-term care insurance? Did you expect a stimulus payment? Did you get it? Who is your accountant? How would I contact them if necessary?

I have a 73-year-old father that lives in another state. My mother, his wife for over-40-years, passed away in late 2011. He remarried in 2017 (today is their anniversary, actually). He has had the same financial advisor for decades, and as I am a new CFP®, I am not managing his finances at this time. I reached out to him in late March, when things with the market were especially crazy, to ask if he would like me to look at his portfolio. He has been following the general good advice to hold his investments and ride out the storm. In order to fully assess the situation, however, I need to see exactly how he’s invested. Further, I took a deeper look at his financial advisor to verify his record. I am in the process of looking at what he is invested in, and the expenses associated with his portfolio. We have already discussed his 2020 Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) because if he already withdrew it and did not need it, the CARES Act allows him, under certain circumstances, to put it back into his account.

An open dialog on finances, while often uncomfortable, can help you find gaps, see stress points, and even discover nefarious activity. Unfortunately, the quarantine and isolation have brought out the scammers in full-force, and seniors can be an easy target. Knowing in advance where all the documents are, who is advising your parents, and how they are managing their finances, will give everyone peace of mind.

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