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  • Writer's pictureAlex Kreis

Understanding The Finances Of Your Parents

It’s important to acknowledge the sacrifices your parents made to raise you, love you and provide financial security. The day may come when your parents can no longer sufficiently manage their financial responsibilities as they once could. You may also find that your parents have a hard time reaching out for help. Fortunately, with a sensitive approach, you can work with your parents gradually on their financial situation. Open dialogue is key!

Here are 4 steps that can help in discussing finances with your parents and ease the stress on what may seem taboo.

1. Begin the Conversation Now

It may take some time before you or your parents become fully comfortable discussing their finances. Starting the conversation early leaves you ample time to plan how you will go about the process. For example, have your parents given written consent for you to talk to their bankers and financial advisors so you will not run into privacy related issues? Once written consent is granted, you can begin the process of accessing important documents as needed.

2. Be Mindful of Emotions

Discussing money with family members can lead to emotional conversations. Thinking about your parents aging and needing help in certain areas of their life can be distressing for you both. Consider planning what you want to say ahead of time, in order to ensure a clear and compassionate conversation. Remind them that having you be involved or to assist with their finances will provide the best outcome down the road. From there, you will be able to understand what works for both you and your parents.

3. Review Financial and Legal Documents

Make a list of all contracts, bank accounts, lines of credit, investment accounts, mortgages, liquid assets and retirement accounts. Take inventory of where legal documents including birth certificates, deeds and wills are kept. Gather all the physical documents together in one location and make sure it is stored in a secure location. Keep electronic copies on a secured drive.

4. Ask an Expert for Help

Managing your money on your own can be stressful, especially as a full-time physician. Don’t be afraid to work with a professional to keep everything streamlined and organized, to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your parents. Even if the financial situation is complicated, managing them doesn’t have to be.



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