Parents – Talk with your Children

parent-and-adult-childToday’s adult children want to know specifics about the finances of their parents – they are ready to hear it and are not well served by not knowing. The problem is that boomer mothers and fathers don’t want to reveal these details; they don’t want to talk about how much they have and where they have it. In addition, parents don’t seem to be taking the prospects of their potential future long-term care needs as seriously as their kids think they should. A survey, the Fidelity Investments Family and Finance Study, showed “parents not wanting to be a burden on their kids” but the survey found “the kids willing to step in and help” as reported by John Sweeney, Fidelity’s executive vice president of retirement and investing strategies. Note to parents: You need to do a better job now of telling your millennial kids what you may need them to do someday.

Findings from the survey showed a very serious gulf between parents and their adult kids regarding who would be the executor of their estate and who would be assuming the long-term caregiver responsibilities. Parents are expecting their children to handle these issues but they haven’t been told; parents aren’t talking. Parents are expecting their children to take over their investments and finances but haven’t identified who is to do it. In fact, 69 percent of parents think they have had detailed conversations with their children about wills and estate planning but 52 percent of kids say they haven’t. The same goes for long-term care and elder care, where 43 percent of parents have not had detailed conversations with family members about it and another 23 percent have not had any conversations on these topics at all.

Parents – talk to your kids. Sweeney added that if the adult children will need to help their parents pay their bills or manage their investments they need at least some general information. You don’t have to share particulars of the holdings in your individual accounts at this time, but generalities would help them take over if and when necessary, especially if the parents are counting on their help.

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