When it comes to family holiday gatherings, conventional wisdom holds that it’s best to avoid conversations about money and politics. This year, steering clear of political talk is probably a wise idea. But if anyone in the family is elderly and potentially in need of assistance, this might be a good time to put personal finances on the agenda.
“One of the first things seniors tend to struggle with as they age is keeping up with their personal business,” says Amy Goyer, an aging expert at AARP and author of "Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving" (American Bar Association, 2015). But the best time to have crucial conversations about how adult children can help is before their parents actually need it.
Still, money matters are sensitive issues, and you need to be respectful of your parents' privacy, Goyer says. So don’t start in by grilling your parents about finances over a holiday dinner.
Instead, initiate a discussion at a private moment—or encourage your parents to do so—about what help they might want now or in the future, and how they’d like you to provide it. Consider this a first step in an ongoing conversation.