Thanksgiving is about family, food, and being thankful for our many blessings, but it can also be an ideal time to check on loved ones. A recent study found that 33% of Americans have no financial plan (Planning and Progress Study, 2015). Whether it’s concerning our parents, children in college, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, the holiday provides an ideal time to discuss financial planning – yours and theirs.
Do you know if your parents will be protected and cared for financially in their later years? It’s a good time to discuss retirement savings, long-term care planning, and possibly even estate planning. Approach the conversation by communicating you want to make sure they’re cared for. Many of us avoid these types of conversations as it can make some uncomfortable, but if you approach it from a sincere desire of wanting to “do your part” to help care for your family members, it’s often well received.
If you’re aging parents have a plan in place, you’ll know more about how to access that plan if needed. For example, if your parents have acquired long-term care insurance, you’ll know who they’ve acquired it from to make things a little less hectic when the time comes for them to use it. But don’t be surprised if you’re parents aren’t as prepared as they should be. More than half of Americans (52%) haven’t taken any steps to address the risk of outliving their savings (Planning and Progress Study, 2015). If plans haven’t been made or could use additional planning, then it’s an ideal time to find a Certified Financial Planner™ who can assist them while times are more ideal. Caring for aging parents can bring about challenges we’re often not prepared to encounter. Therefore, the more preparation, the better.
Thanksgiving kicks off the season in which we spend a significant amount of time with our siblings. Hopefully, you have a close enough relationship with your siblings to discuss some important financial matters as well. For example, how can each of you step in to care for your parents when the time arises? What plans or expectations have each of you set to ensure your parents’ wishes are carried out? In a separate but equally important matter, if you still have kids in the home, will your siblings be able to become a legal guardian if ever necessary? The approach of hoping for the best while planning for the worst can ensure you and your family are financially protected for years to come.
For those who have children in college, it’s a time of excitement. However, be sure you’ve talked with your children about planning for the next few years as they begin the career phase of their lives. Millennials are financially anxious. In fact, 1 in 20 Millennials worry about money on an hourly basis. Their top cited sources of financial anxiety include day-to-day expenses (50%), unexpected expenses (45%) and student loan debt (34%) (Planning and Progress Study, 2015). Perhaps your pre-college or college-age children have plans to acquire advanced degrees past a four-year degree. Make sure they have a plan to finance their dreams and relay accurate expectations of whether you will or will not be able to help them financially.
A lot can change in the span of a year, and Thanksgiving provides an ideal opportunity to make sure you understand each other’s financial wishes. At the very least, it provides an opportunity to get these types of conversations started.