How to Talk With Aging Parents About Money

The holidays can be a good time to find out if Mom or Dad needs help with their finances and to start a conversation about how you can lend a hand.

Talking to your elderly parents about their finances isn't a conversation most us want to have. It ranks right up thetr with talking about the birds and the bees with your kids. But if you think Mom or Dad might be having trouble managing money because of the effects of aging or dementia (see How Aging Imperils Your Finances), you need to take action. And a good time to do this is over the holidays.

I'm not suggesting that you bring up the topic as you ask Mom to pass the turkey and gravy. But if you're going to be spending several days with your parents over Thanksgiving or Christmas, you'll have the opportunity to look for clues that they might be having problems with money tasks and to find a way to start a conversation (possibly after the holidays) about ways you can help.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor,

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.