December 7, 2010
At age 85, you're happy to be healthy and living longer than you ever expected. But money is running out. Not only will you be unable to leave your children the inheritance they're expecting, but funds are getting tight for you as well. What do you say to your kids?
The first step is to establish a budget and know exactly how bad the situation is. You may be able to do this on your own, or you may want to find non-profit credit counseling services that could help. Your children can assist if you are comfortable with that. It's very likely that their first question when you start talking about this will be along the lines of "How bad is it?" You will either need to have an answer, or be ready for them to start asking more detailed questions. So if you don't want them involved in the details of your finances, make sure you can answer them clearly about the bottom line: How much more money do you need each month to continue getting by?
A good way to start this conversation might be something like "Barbara. I'm a little embarrassed to tell you this, but I'm afraid I'm running short on money. I had planned everything just fine, but I was expecting to be dead by now. Can we talk a little about this? Or can you help me figure out what I should do?" Many children will be more than happy to get involved and figure out solutions. Before the conversation starts, make sure that you know what it is you want from your child. Do you want them to financially help you, help you plan or help you find a professional financial advisor? You will always be more effective in this sort of conversation if you know what you want from it.
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