We Need to Talk!

by Laura Chiesman

Family life is a series of ages and stages and as the years pass by there are many conversations that we work our way through. We share information and make decisions together about important topics regarding our hopes and dreams for relationships, marriage, having, raising and educating our children, careers, vacations, retirement and the list goes on. At some point the kids are grown and on their way, our careers are well established and retirement is near or already here and we might feel that we’ve covered it all.

Time to relax and enjoy? Well hopefully, but just as the empty nest appears, so does the realization that there is yet another series of conversations to be had. We here at our wealth services firm in Satellite Beach, FL know as life expectancies increase so does the need to talk about what comes next. Decisions must be made about the eventual care for the older members of our families.

Recent studies show that nearly 30% of Americans provide some type of care or assistance to their parents. This assistance may be financial or hands on care…or both. Even as millions of families face this situation there is a reluctance to talk about it. According to a study by AgeWave, over 75% of adults have not had in-depth conversations with their parents about the plans, wishes and available resources for their later years.

It’s easy to put off these talks. No one enjoys bringing up old age, long term care and assistance needs, possible future illnesses and disability. It is especially difficult to talk about finances and to determine if family members will need to pitch in to provide for a parent’s needs. Fear, pride, self-reliance, and life-long patterns get in the way and so we wait and everything goes along fine…until it doesn’t! When health and capabilities begin to change, things can happen very quickly. Having to make decisions on the fly, during times of stress and high emotion can lead to less than optimal effects on finances, emotions and relationships.

Much like a business plan, it’s good practice to set up plans and procedures for events that you hope never happen. Having conversations with your spouse, children or your parents about issues that may or may not ever occur can provide peace of mind now and ease stress later should some of these issues come to pass. Time spent during calmer days can save anxiety and heartache when it matters most. A good beginning may be a simple conversation about gathering and organizing important documents. Here is a link to a resource to get you started, Twenty-Five Documents You Need.

Great gifts and opportunities can be built into these moments – learning more about the generations of our families, hearing about the past and what our parents would like us to remember about them, or letting our children know these things about us.

If you need help planning for the future – yours or your parent’s – please feel welcome to contact an advisor at our wealth services firm in Satellite Beach, FL.