Jul 26, 2021
It’s funny how life has a way of going full circle. When I was a child, mom and dad sat me down for a talk about “the birds and the bees.” Fortunately, my parents and I survived that experience relatively unscathed. Fast forward 30 years. I’m in my 40s while mom and dad are in their 70s. It was time for another “talk.” This one would be as awkward as when I was young. However, this would likewise be a critical conversation – “Mom and dad, how do you manage your personal finances and what should I (your son) know about them?”
At first, my parents were a bit hesitant to openly respond to my questions. They know that financial services have been my profession for over a decade and that I have these conversations with clients all the time. However, they were uncomfortable sharing this very personal information, which is completely understandable as I am their son, not their attorney or financial advisor. Rather than push them to disclose sensitive information, I educated them as to why it was important to share. After a brief, yet focused, conversation, I left them with important reasons to consider sharing their personal finances with me, their adult son. These include:
- If something happened to one or both of you, how would I know what accounts you have or where your important documents are stored? How would I “pick up the pieces” and manage your affairs?
- Are you prepared to cover retirement and potential long-term care expenses? If not, what is “Plan B”?
- How would you like your house, your property, and your possessions to be distributed someday?
I wish that I could share that immediately following “the talk” my parents provided me with all of the information I would need to handle their affairs. On the bright side, it did begin a series of necessary conversations. Eventually, my parents not only got their estate plan documents executed, but they also explained to me how their finances are set up and where important documents (wills, powers of attorney, statements, etc.) are located.
To all the parents and adult children out there that are avoiding “the talk” because it may be uncomfortable, I urge you to consider making an attempt sooner rather than later. Dealing with the fallout from not knowing critical information about household finances is much more difficult to handle.
Michael is Senior Financial Advisor at Financial Focus Group (www.ffgus.com). He began his career in financial services in 1999 at a Fortune 100 company based in New York City. In 2010, Michael transitioned from his corporate role as director of broker & consultant strategies to start his practice as a financial advisor that specializes in working with corporate professionals and business owners. Michael is responsible for helping clients make strategic decisions in the areas of risk management, wealth management, tax strategies, and estate planning strategies.
Michael Daniels is a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of Securian Financial Services. Securities and Investment Advisory services offered through Securian Financial Services Inc. member FINRA/SIPC. Financial Focus Group is independently owned and operated. 95 Christopher Columbus Drive Floor 12A Jersey City, NJ 07302 TN:3564400/DOFU:5/2021
Financial Professionals do not provide specific tax/legal advice and this information should not be considered as such. You should always consult your tax/legal advisor regarding your own specific tax/legal situation.