My parents are both gone now, but about 10 years before my dad died, when I was there for a visit, he introduced me to his “Death Book.”
Yep. That’s what he called it. It was a three-ring binder with info on everything in it: where his will was, where his bank accounts were, the safe deposit box and more. He even had a handwritten obituary to send to the local paper.
While “Death Book” is a horrible title, it’s a great idea. It’s really helpful for adult kids to understand what’s happening with their parents’ money and estate planning.
But there’s the problem. You know you need to talk to them about their finances, but you’re not sure where to begin — or how to approach the conversation with compassion. This week we’re going to tackle this thorny subject.
We’ve also got a special guest, award-winning journalist Cameron Huddleston. Cameron is also the author of “Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances.”
If you’d rather watch this episode, you can do that below. If you’d rather just listen, you can do that on this page, or download it wherever you get your podcasts:
Cameron knows the importance of this topic firsthand and has some great tips for talking to your parents. After all, she wrote the book!
Why you need to talk to your parents about their money
It’s not about you — or at least not just about you. Did you know that if your parents become incompetent, and you’ve not prepared in advance, you’ll have to go to court and prove they’re not able to take care of their money?
If you’re going to eventually need to help your parents with their finances, you need to know what’s going on. In the first part of our discussion, we talk about why that’s so important.
Check out the following resources for more information on estate planning:
- We’ve got a podcast for that — check out our episode on Estate Planning Tips and Tricks.
- Middle-Aged Americans Aren’t Planning Their Estates — Here’s How to Fix That
- If your parents haven’t figured out a plan, they’re not alone: 6 Legal Documents That Most Retirees Don’t Have
What to include in your money conversation (and how to do it)
Cameron provides some concrete tips for getting that money conversation started, including how to approach your parents in a way that helps them feel appreciated and cared for.
As you prepare to have this conversation, these resources can help you pinpoint what to talk about:
- 8 Documents That Are Essential for Planning Your Estate
- Don’t Make These 12 Big Financial Planning Blunders
- 7 Things You Should Not Include In Your Will
- If you need help finding the right financial advice, listen to our podcast episode on When to Pay for Financial Advice and How to Find the Right Adviser.
Meet this week’s guest, Cameron Huddleston
Cameron Huddleston is the author of “Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.” She is an award-winning personal finance journalist whose work has appeared in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Forbes, MSN, Yahoo! Finance and many more online and print publications.
She was a caregiver for 12 years for her mom, who had Alzheimer’s disease, and currently is the director of education and content at Carefull, the first service built to organize and protect aging adults’ daily finances.
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About the hosts
Stacy Johnson founded Money Talks News in 1991. He’s a CPA and also has earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.
Miranda Marquit, MBA, is a financial expert, writer and speaker. She’s been covering personal finance and investing topics for almost 20 years. When not writing and podcasting, she enjoys travel, reading and the outdoors.