When you think about celebrating Mother’s Day, most people imagine happy brunches and gift giving. But it might be the perfect opportunity to to have some difficult but important conversations, like if mom has a will set up and how she plans to pay for a nursing home.
Many people pass away or age without discussing these matters with their children, creating an air of confusion and stress. Before your mother isn’t able to talk to you about what she wants, ask her.
Read below to see what you conversations you need to have with your mother – before it’s too late.
Retirement and Social Security
Whether or not your mother is already retired, it’s a good idea to talk about her finances and determine how much money she has saved for her golden years. Retirement planning can be complicated, depending on pensions, social security, and personal savings.
If your mother is unsure about how much she can spend or when to claim social security, a financial planner can help sort through the uncertainty. They can draft a budget to plan how much she can use so she doesn’t run out of money in her later years.
You can find a fee-only planner through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors list at Guidevine or search for advisors specializing in retirement planning.
Experts say that almost 70% of seniors will need long-term care during their lifetime. Long-term care includes going to a nursing home, moving to an assisted living facility or having a live-in caregiver.
The cost of one year of long-term care is about $50,000 – far more than what most families can afford. Thankfully, consumers can purchase long-term care insurance to mitigate the cost.
Marguerita Cheng, CFP of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, said children should ask their mothers about their plans for long-term care and how they’ll to fund it. Some people prefer to use their own retirement savings for long-term care, while others prefer to purchase an insurance policy.
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Talking about death with your mom is probably not on the list of conversations you want to have. But it’s a reality everyone will face at some point. If your mom is resistant to create a will or an estate plan, tell her that those decisions can adversely affect her heirs after she’s gone.
“When it comes to your mom’s estate planning needs, like drafting a will or a healthcare proxy, it’s helpful to remind her that having these documents in place will make an already difficult time easier on your family,” said Rebecca Green Neale of Personal Finance Lawyer. “A will isn’t just a legal document for the courts. It tells your family your wishes and clarifies possible confusion about how you wanted to distribute your property and what are your final wishes for burial.”
Your mother can find a qualified attorney through the National Association of Legal Planners & Councils.
One of the most necessary topics to discuss with your mother is what she wants to happen if she can’t make her own medical decisions. Does she want to be kept on life support? Does she want a feeding tube installed? You can find a more specific list of questions here.
Ask your mom to communicate those decisions through an advance directive or living will. These documents can be used to tell doctors what her wishes are when she’s not able to communicate herself.
She’ll need to file an advance directive with the state, where physicians and hospitals will be able to access it. Your mother should also discuss her decision with you and your siblings so you’re able to advocate for her in case the advance directive isn’t found.
As parents get older, their memory and judgment start to fade. Just as they warned us not to cross the street when a car is coming, we need to warn them about the dangers that lurk in our digital age.
Online dating is a popular avenue for scammers looking to prey on older women. Many interactions start off as innocent conversations and then delve into requests for money. It might be embarrassing, but talking to your mom about her dating habits could save money – and heartbreak – in the long run.
In another popular scam, a stranger calls pretending to be a relative in need of cash. Tell your mother to be wary of these requests, and to immediately dial the relative in question on their phone to make sure it’s really them.
Again, discussing these topics with your mother might be difficult. Try not to bring up everything at once, as that might be overwhelming for her. If she tries to resist, tell her that most of these conversations can be discussed fairly quickly. But only if she doesn’t put them off.
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