How to Talk to Your Parents About Money Without Getting Confused

Money is a difficult, daunting topic for most people, including parents . If your parents need financial help, it can be challenging to approach. I asked several money experts for their opinion on how to speak delicately on this topic.

My parents were always good at money. My mom is smart about saving, and my dad is focusing on investing and growing. However, as a finance writer, there are some topics that I know quite a bit about, just constantly researching and writing about money. Fortunately, both of my parents are very receptive to learning, but not all parents think the same way. It can be difficult to listen to your child with financial advice. Here’s what several other finance writers and experts have to offer.

Lead by example

Melanie Lockert, financial author and co-founder of Lola Retreat , says her own attempt to get out of debt inspired her family to take control of their finances.

“My parents were inspired by my debt settlement journey and learned a thing or two along the way,” she said. “Share with your parents what you are working on and hope it works.”

If your financial habits improve, chances are your parents will notice. Ideally, this would inspire them to act on their own. Even if it doesn’t, it will be easier to talk about money when they see you are already walking. Savings expert Kendal Perez says that she and her mom are shopping buddies, and as he became more frugal about shopping, Perez noticed that her mom followed suit.

As I cut back on my belongings and changed my attitude towards things, I gave up peer pressure and now ask questions such as “Do you already have something like this?” or “will this go with some of the things you already have?” I recently noticed that she asks me the same questions when I am considering a purchase, and it makes me smile; it feels like we are developing in the right direction! I think that children who lead by example and are patient will find that their positive spending and consumption habits can have a significant impact on their parents.

In addition, Lockert adds that it helps you focus on goals. Nobody likes unsolicited advice, so if you can talk more about what they want to achieve, whether it’s a retirement plan or a trip to Italy, it will be much easier to talk about all the boring money needed to achieve those goals. for example, open an IRA and maximize it . You also want to indicate what your role will be in their plans.

Wait for them to come near you

Again, no one likes unsolicited advice, but it may be necessary. It is quite common for older children to support aging parents in one way or another, so their finances can certainly affect your own in the future. Of course, this only complicates the conversation.

To curb the awkwardness, you might consider waiting for the parents to open up the dialogue themselves, and then turning it into a deeper conversation. Here’s what Jackie Lam of has to offer :

Sometimes it bothers me that I look know-it-all, so I’ve learned to wait while others come up to me with questions. I try my best not to poke my nose into other people’s business, because as you know, many people do not like to talk about money very much or are simply not ready to hear what you tell them … Usually they try to wait until my mother asks me about my opinion on financial matters such as buying a new car, what to do with retirement, and credit cards.

Thus, the advice is not even unwelcome. Most likely, someday the topic of money will arise. If so, now is the time to talk about their overall financial picture. However, if this is not the case, or the conversation cannot wait (retirement planning is a monetary issue that needs to be addressed urgently), there are other options.

Find Lieson

The main reason it’s difficult to have these kinds of conversations with your parents is because you don’t want to be judged. It is easy to defend against money as such; When your child lectures you about this, it is only natural for him to be a little taken aback. If you’re worried about your parents becoming so defensive that they’ll cut off the conversation entirely, consider bonding, suggests Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial :

This may sound confusing, but consider talking to your significant other or your brother or sister’s partners to start an open dialogue with your parents. Sometimes it is easier for your parents to open up to a loved one, who is a son-in-law or daughter-in-law, and not their real child.

She adds that aging parents may find it easier to talk to someone about retirement or end-of-life plans if they are not emotionally or financially invested like an adult child.

Point them in the right direction

Instead of giving advice, you can just show them where to find it. Personal finance expert Stephanie O’Connell told me that she implemented this strategy with her parents by donating a book on personal finance.

Because it’s a gift, it doesn’t look aggressive, and because this particular book offers a more holistic approach to aging, I feel that the discussion of money can be brought up as part of a broader conversation about values, desires, and needs in retirement. is what is money management anyway.

This is a passive strategy, but it can come in handy, especially if you haven’t talked much about money before. It’s also a good way to break the ice.


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