There are some things no one wants to think about until they have to, like caregiving for your parents as they age and figuring out what happens to your finances when you die. But planning for these events now can spare you and your loved ones a lot of hassle later on.
The first step is to simply talk about the inevitable.
“Think about the people you care about. Would your life be better if you never brought this subject up? Or would everyone’s lives improve if you did?” says Lauryn Williams, a certified financial planner and owner of Worth Winning, a Dallas-based financial planning firm.
“Getting the conversation going is a gamechanger for being able to tackle these topics,” she says.
OK, your death and your parents getting older don’t make for light dinner-table conversation. But there are ways to ease into each of these uncomfortable topics.
How to have the caregiving conversation
Millennials are currently the “sandwich generation,” says Frank Paré, a CFP and president and managing partner at PF Wealth Management Group in Oakland, California. That means they’re responsible for bringing up their kids while also thinking about how to care for aging parents.
The pandemic might have forced you to have frank discussions with your parents about their health care situation. You can use that momentum to approach conversations about the type of care they would prefer later in life, whether it’s moving in with you, going to assisted living or having in-home care.
Williams suggests making a list of open-ended questions to get the ball rolling, such as “What would you want to happen if you suddenly got ill?” or “How do you see me being a part of your retirement?”
Talk about what resources your parents plan to use to pay for care, Paré says. Do they have a life insurance policy? Are they on Social Security? Do they have a pension? Will they need to look into long-term care insurance? This type of insurance covers chronic conditions, disabilities or disorders. If your parents don’t have it or can’t afford to buy it, you can purchase it for them, he says.
Having the conversation allows you to prepare now if you need to start setting money aside for caregiving.
Estate planning is for everyone