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Personal Finance FAQ

How to talk to your aging parents about their finances during the coronavirus pandemic

Dallas, Texas based Certified Financial Planner Jason Hull of Hull Financial Planning thinks that, if you need to use coronavirus as a reason to talk to your parents about their finances and you haven’t done so, it’s a great idea.

“Most parents were brought up in a time when talking about finances was taboo. They changed your diapers, and some small part of them still sees you as the dependent, not as an independent, highly functioning adult. However, just like they were brave enough to have the talk about the birds and the bees with you, you need to be brave enough to have the financial talk with them.

“The reason that this is important,” continues Hull, “is because we know that cognitive decline can manifest itself in parents long before signs are visible.”

He suggests that you look for answers to a few questions as well as a couple of telltale signs that things are slipping. The topics you should cover include:

  • Where are the important papers located?
  • How are you paying your bills each month?
  • What are their desires for care when they’re no longer capable of independently taking care of themselves?
  • Who else are you in contact with about your money?
  • Could you set up autopay and automatic alerts and include us?

The key, Hull emphasizes, is to assure your parents that you’re not after their money or the inheritance. You want to make sure that they’re taken care of and that there’s nothing nefarious happening in their lives. Given the unfortunate prevalence of coronavirus scams, it’s important that you’re able to help them intercept scammers if they are vulnerable. This is a conversation that is meant to ease everyone’s minds as well as to ensure that you aren’t caught by surprise sometime later down the road with unexpected bills or financial hardships.

By Jason Hull, CFP®

Jason Hull, CFP®, was the co-founder of Broadtree Partners, a firm that acquires $1-5MM EBITDA companies. He also was the co-founder of open source search consultancy OpenSource Connections, a premier Solr and ElasticSearch firm. He and his wife FIREd (financial independence retire early) at 46 and 45, respectively. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a MBA from the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business.

You can read more about him in the About Page.

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