Parents and Adult Children On Different Pages When it Comes to Money

May 31, 2018 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

Emotions sometimes make us say things we shouldn’t. But when it comes to the needs of aging parents, emotions often prevent both parties from speaking up. That silence can be costly, potentially leading to conflict and loss over legacies, money management, financial fraud, and other issues. Wells Fargo recently conducted a survey of older Americans and those old enough to be their children around feelings about financial issues. The results show that a lot more conversations need to happen.

  • Only 1 in 8 older Americans think they need help with their finances in their later years, but 43% of adult children disagree.
  • When it comes to areas where they might need help, older Americans are five times more likely to think about who will mow the lawn than who will manage their finances.
  • Nearly 90% of older Americans say they want to avoid getting help from their children, or don’t want to be a burden. Yet a similar percentage of adult children say they definitely want to help or will help as much as they can.
  • 41% of older Americans say no one except their spouse knows how much money they have. 34% of adult children are uncomfortable talking about their parents’ money.
  • 70% of older Americans want to control their money, even if they make mistakes.

The survey concludes that, “elders want independence, but they also need help. The survey results are backed by real emotions and, in most cases, a desire to do the right thing. Determining what this is for each individual usually begins with a conversation that is sometimes difficult to open, but which holds the possibility of increased understanding and security when those attributes are needed most.” Your office can be instrumental in starting conversations between clients and their children. Offer to be a neutral mediator, if need be, and help them put protections in place so that parents and children are at peace.


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