How to talk with aging parents about finances

Canada Life - Mar 14, 2024
There are several reasons why it’s important to talk with your aging parents about money. There are strategies to help make the conversations less awkward and more productive.
A daughter and elderly mom discuss a piece of paper the daughter is holding.

Why talk with your parents about money

Chances are your parents taught you your first lessons about money and how to manage it.

Maybe that’s why it can be awkward, as they’re aging, to talk with them about their money. However, there are several good reasons to do so:

  • Prepare for the unexpected
  • Get your parents input while they’re still able
  • Help protect them from fraud and scams
  • Help protect your financial future

According to Home Instead, 45% of sandwich generation caregivers have cut expenses or shifted budgets to meet responsibilities as a caregiver for parent(s) and/or in-law(s). 23% have quit a job that made it too hard to be a caregiver. 48% of those who work say their employer has warned them their caregiving responsibilities are jeopardizing their employment.


When to talk with your parents about money

You should have, the money talk with your parents sooner rather than later, while they’re physical and mental health is still good. Starting the conversation earlier can help you when you have to have more difficult discussions later in their life.

Choose a time when everyone is relaxed and rested in familiar surroundings.

Sometimes life events such as a personal health scare or a situation with another relative or family friend may provide an opening to begin the discussion.

How to approach financial conversations with your parents

Start by making your intentions clear. Confirm your goal is to talk about their future and what their wishes are. It’s not about controlling their finances or figuring how large your inheritance will be.

Include your siblings so everyone understands the same information.

Suggest working with a lawyer or advisor if your parents want an expert, impartial third party to help with the conversation.

What topics should you talk about with your parents?

Your list of things to discuss with your parents should include:

Estate planning

Confirm your parents have powers of attorney and wills completed and up to date and confirm where they are.

Do they have any trusts set-up? Are there charities they want to support?

Talk about their wishes regarding funeral arrangements including cremation, burial, etc. Have they done funeral pre-planning? What is the budget for their funeral?

Living arrangements

Do your parents intend to downsize their home at some point in the future? If so, would they like to move to a retirement home or a long-term care home? What are their wishes for end-of-life care and how will it be funded?


What assets and debt do they have? Where are their various accounts? Do they have insurance policies? Where does their income come from (for example, government benefits and pension)? What are their regular expenses. Who is their advisor?


How is your parent’s health? Do they have ongoing health issues? How do they cover their healthcare costs? Will they require long-term care? Do they have or require critical illness insurance, disability insurance or personal health insurance?

What's next?

Now that you know more about talking to your aging parents about money, you may choose to meet with me to discuss estate planning. I’m here to support you with discussions with your parents about their finances.