Aging Well in the Gorge January 12th 2022

 What don’t you want to talk to your children about? I mean besides sex. How about money.

This was pointed out by Rodney A. Brooks in his article “Family and Finances: Avoiding ‘The Talk’?”. He shares the advice of financial planners who believe older adults need to discuss their finances with their children. And children also need to review how their parents are doing with their finances.

(Whoa! Now wait a minute. Do I really want my children knowing about my finances with the certain lectures about how they should be handled? It was bad enough when my children said we had to stay home during the first year of the pandemic. We had to lie to go to the store!)

But the unexpected does happen: dementia, incapacitation, or death. Then your children will have no idea about your financial situation leaving your children in a mad scramble to figure things out without your help.

So why do many of us avoid family discussions about finances?

As I mentioned, we may feel the more people who know our financial situation, particularly our children, the greater chance of losing control and being told what we should do.

Also, it’s often hard to know how to begin the conversation. We don’t have much experience discussing money matters. It’s something we just don’t talk about. 

Finally, we don’t want our children to act differently knowing of their potential inheritance. Do my children care about me or their inheritance? (I don’t have to worry. My children know there won’t be an inheritance. They’re just relieved knowing they won’t be responsible for any of my debts!)

What are some ways to avoid difficulties when having “the talk” about your finances? According to several financial advisors, there are three actions you should consider.

Create one family financial organizer you can share with your children that includes key contacts, bank accounts, investment accounts, insurance policies, wills/trusts, and passwords. You can find different organizers on Amazon.

Identify a trusted advisor: someone who does NOT have power of attorney or authority to act on your behalf. Share their name with your financial advisor, if you have one, in case they feel things don’t seem right.

And as with most uncomfortable topics, it helps to have honest and direct communication - which is always easier said than done.

Your children are not the only ones to talk with. Does your spouse understand your financial situation? Often there is one in the marriage who is responsible for the financial decisions. You might feel more comfortable discussing finances with your children by first having a discussion with your spouse.

Think about having “the talk”. You don’t want to leave your children, and your spouse, the difficult, complex, and usually expensive responsibility of cleaning up your estate.

To read “Family and Finances: Avoiding ‘The Talk’” click here where you'll find more financial resources and virtual classes.

The 1961 television sitcom featuring a talking palomino horse and Wilbur Post his hapless owner was Mister Ed. (I apologize if you now hear the theme song “a horse is a horse, of course, of course” constantly echoing through your brain!) I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Barbara Cadwell, Doug Nelson, Emmett Sampson, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens. Kim Birge, Lana Tepfer, Steven Woolpert, Julie Carter, Jack Bisset, Keith Clymer, Jim and Betsy Ayres, Tina Castanares, Kathy Vawter, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket: Margo Dameier who received a Mr. Ed talking hand puppet for Christmas when she was in 4th grade! And last week I missed Lana Tepfer.

This week’s question is about a common antiseptic from the ’50s. When I had a cut or scrape, my mom would paint it with this orange liquid that always stung. (But if I blew on it, the stinging would go away!)  What was the trade name of this antiseptic that some called “Monkey Blood”? E-mail your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788 or send it with your favorite memory of this antiseptic.

Well, it’s been another week and another quarter in the parking meter of life. Until we meet again, I know I should appreciate each season, and I do, but is it too early to start wishing it was spring?

 “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” Carl Reiner

 

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