Transitioning Parents

No adult child wants to talk about “what-if’s” with their independent parents. And no parent wants to admit to him- or herself or children that they might need help someday. Financial planners can often be the catalyst for starting these conversations and managing the outcomes. But sometimes, they miss the mark.

Last fall, I had a “family meeting,” where I discovered my parents’ financial advisor was not as engaged with them as I believed acceptable.  With my sister and brother included, we discussed a myriad of topics including the dynamics of their current house.  We asked them what the future holds as they move from their current age of 70 to beyond. It was clear that they were covered with a Navy pension and access to a private home for the aging that would not require any of us to take care of them.  What a relief!

But that did not address the transition stage—post retirement and before nursing care. Even my well organized, thoughtful father did not have answers to some important questions. For example, their current four-bedroom, two-floor house did not make a lot of sense for that in-between stage of their life.  Meaning, there is a transition phase between aging senior and elderly that needed exploration.  What was the plan?

In our work with advisors, we have a lot of conversations about Gen X, estate planning with elderly parents, and even millennials. But, what about the aging population that is in that transition phase? There are many issues that should be discussed, and most families do not have the right conversation starters or person to help lead the dialog. This is where the financial advisor can and should play a critical role.

If you think you might need to consider how you handle and promote this type of expertise, I encourage you to register for Susan’s upcoming webinar sponsored by the Financial Planning Association.  She will cover key concepts such as reviewing the challenges of the aging client population, and how you can expand and market your expertise. Click here for more information.

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