Having “The Talk”

Erratic calls from creditors and mounds of paper did not mark my realization that Mom’s finances were not in order. The house was as tidy as it always was, floors scrubbed, dust abolished, and papers neatly in folders.

The knowledge came with my simple, distracted, superficial inquiry about bills in general. The prompt change of subject and dismissal, akin to a child trying to point out Fido’s mess rather than the broken vase, made my attention re-focus and concentrate on her.

“Mom, how are you managing your finances?”


Such conversations are usually put off, as finances can be a touchy and nuanced subject. It’s inextricably linked to our independence, so any reply comment seems to signify defeat, which many parents will do anything to avoid. However, if a sudden take over of management was to occur after an illness or some such travesty, are you and your parents prepared?

Marlo Sollito at agingcare.com prepared a helpful checklist to assure organization should something happen to financial abilities. It’s better to be informed and organized in the healthy periods rather than trying to deal with illness, finances, rent, and other bills at one stressful time.

  • Have they named a durable power of attorney to manage their finances?
  • Where do they keep their financial records?
  • What are their bank account numbers and names of their financial institutions?
  • What are your parent’s monthly expenses?
  • How do they pay their bills currently?
  • How much is their annual income and where does it come from?
  • Do they receive Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security?
  • What kind of medical health insurance do they have in addition to Medicare?
  • Do they have long-term care insurance?
  • Do they have an accountant or financial planner?

If you are interested in further details, the full article can be read at www.agingcare.com/articles. The time for awkward financial discussions should not be delayed until an emergency prompts it. Don’t look for signs of trouble or wait for the ‘perfect time.’ Have a memorable dinner and talk money!