Brian Formisano: ’Money talk’ key to Truckee GenXers advising, helping aging parents
It’s said that GenXers are the next “sandwich” generation in Truckee because they’re wedged between two groups of people who demand their special care and attention: their children and their aging parents. There’s plenty of instruction and advice for raising kids, yet little seems to be available to help Truckee GenXers through the challenges of parental aging.
One of the greatest challenges during this Older Americans Month is getting to the heart of the matter where your parents’ finances are concerned. For example, do you know how much money your parents have? How much they owe? Where they bank in Truckee? Whether they have a safe deposit box?
If you have aging parents, you should know the answers to these questions – most importantly because, due to illness or death, you suddenly could find yourself responsible for managing their finances.
Yet getting the answers can be tough. Why? One huge reason is that older people often find it unacceptable – even downright rude – to be questioned about their finances, even by their children. They were raised to believe that money matters are deeply private.
Another reason is that it’s not easy to face the negative implications inherently raised by the discussion – Mom and Dad are getting old. We’d better talk about their finances now while we still can. Who wants to think about any of that, let alone talk about it? The consequence? Avoidance – on your part and your parents’ – and no preparation for when you may have to act on behalf of Mom and Dad.
Although it may be uncomfortable to contemplate, it’s essential to have the talk. Set aside time when you and your parents won’t be interrupted. A good way to open the door is to discuss your own plans for retirement and preparations in case of your own illness, loss of income or other challenge. Your Truckee personal banker can also help be a sounding board for this important discussion.
Financial talk with your parents during Older Americans Month may not be easy, yet it certainly is important. It will help you help them as they meet the inevitable challenges of aging, and help you get answers now about how to manage the financial responsibilities you may have to assume on their behalf.
Brian Formisano is the Wells Fargo Region Bank President for Lake Tahoe
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