I was listening to a podcast lately, and the discussion was centered around talking with parents about their finances. This was not something I had previously given much thought to, but wanted to share this topic, so that you too can begin to take action if necessary.
Speaking to your parents about their personal finances can be tricky, and be seen as “passing your place” since in their eyes, you are still a child. However, this may be something you should add to your to-do-list, while your parents are still in good health.
See, many of us do not take the time to find out our parents’ financial standing, and then when health issues arise which may incapacitate them or affect their memory, then it is a struggle to know where to begin. Having a general idea of where your parents stand financially, and knowing which institutions they do business with, can save a lot of time and stress.
Some top questions to ask your parents and to get the conversation started are:
- How many banking accounts do you have (savings, checking, certificate of deposits, investing etc.) and which financial institutions do you own them with?
- Who are the beneficiaries on your account(s)?
- Do you have retirements accounts (including Health Savings Account)? If so, how many accounts do you have, and with whom?
- Do you have outstanding debts? If so, with whom?
- Approximately how much money do you have in your financial accounts?
- Do you have a safe or lock box that I should be aware of? In the case of an emergency, where can I locate the key?
- Do you have a will? Is your will current or should it be updated?
- Do you own individual stocks and bonds? Do you own any other types of investments? If so, what are they?
The questions above are not an exhaustive list, but is just a general guideline to get the dialog going with your parents. Be proactive and take the time to initiate a conversation with your parents and get the information that you need.