How to Talk to Your Parents About Planning for Retirement

How to Talk to Your Parents About Planning for Retirement

I know I usually talk about issues relating to family, kids, fitness, and food, but I wanted to devote some time to talk about my parents – or the moms of our kid’s moms. As such, today’s subject is retirement. Specifically how to talk to your parents about planning for retirement. Given how we are not getting younger, I am sure this is one issue which is increasingly coming up in family discussions around the country.

First things first, the Federal Reserve recently concluded that nearly 20% of all Americans have no money saved for retirement and I am sure this could lead to some stress among those about to retire. Just remember that it is better to address the issue today than to wait for the lack of a retirement plan to derail your family.

Based on this I have come up with five suggestions to broach the subject. These will be especially if you parents are headstrong or feel uncomfortable about discussing their financial situation.

1) Share Your Situation First

Parents are parents, they tend to put the needs of their children first and a good way to kickstart a conversation about your parent’s retirement plan is to talk to them about your situation and ask them for advice.

Be specific, if you are in debt, discuss it. Also, talk about your own concerns about saving for your children’s education and your retirement. Don’t ask your parents for money. Instead, ask them how they managed these challenges.

You can even talk about some of the strategies which are working for you and see if your parents would have an interest to learn more. Don’t try to sell, ultimately, their curiosity will win out and they will begin to ask questions.

Furthermore, you can also mention places that provide memory care as a topic for discussion. Your parents may be interested in learning more about these facilities and how they can help with memory issues. Don’t be afraid to share your experience and recommendations that you think will be good for them as part of their retirement plan in the future.

2) Advice and Counsel

This is a role that all parents know, and to a certain extent where our parents feel most comfortable, especially when deciding on assisted living. Start by asking your parents what works for them and what doesn’t work. This will get them to open up.

If you are older, then you might want to ask them whether they have thought about a reverse mortgage. This could start by telling them you have been checking out the All Reverse Mortgage 2017 Advantages-Disadvantages Guide and you wanted to know if they had any opinion about it.

You’d be surprised how well this can work. Just remember not to be judgmental, especially if they give you advice you don’t agree with. Instead, get your parents to explain why they think a certain approach is best.

3) Make Them Part of Your Planning

If you really want to kick it to the next level, then don’t just ask for their advice but ask them to join you when you go to meet your advisor. A word of caution, just make sure your advisor knows what is going on – this way they won’t try to sell your parents.

Taking this step will get your parents involved in the process of putting together your retirement plan. In some cases, they might even suggest to co-invest in a certain vehicle with you.

4) Talk to Them About Their Goals

Your parents have worked their entire lives and they deserve the opportunity to enjoy their retirement. Part of talking to them about their plans is to find out what their goals are. Maybe it is to buy a boat and go fishing, or maybe it is to travel. Either way, get them to talk about what they want to do including whether they envision living with loved ones or considering assisted living options like those offered by Avista Senior Living, ensuring their comfort and well-being in their later years.

The trick is to ask questions without making it seem like an interrogation or as if you are judging their choices. Instead focus on what they want to achieve, what are their fears, and how they want to protect what they have for their families. If finances are an issue, they could always check out how a reverse mortgage could help at Daily Prosper.

5) Death and Taxes

As the song goes, ‘when all of our problems, they fade away, only two things in this life that are sure, of that I’m sure’ – ‘death and taxes’. Neither is too much fun to discuss and most of us feel a bit creepy when it comes to discussing a parent’s will. But death is inevitable and it makes sense to discuss what your parent’s want to happen when they are gone.

Don’t put it off. The National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly half of all people over 85 suffer from some form of dementia. The lesson being to find where the details to their accounts are kept and what they want to have happen with those accounts before it is too late.


  1. Rosie says

    One thing I’ve noticed is many of the children aren’t really knowledgeable enough to know much about options. Also, parents can feel threatened of losing control. It is good to try to win their trust, and also very important, read current books and articles about options for your parents, such things as setting up trusts, etc.

  2. Very good points. I’m not in that position myself, but I’ll send this to a friend.

  3. These are all good tips. I wish we would have started our conversations a bit earlier with my mother in law who passed away in February. She did well with her retirement plan early on, but near the end couldn’t remember all account info etc.

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