The Talk (and Planning) Every Parent Owes Their Adult Kids

Family, Health, Long Term Care Insurance, Must Have Documents, Retirement

June 21, 2018

Nearly two thirds of participants in a recent survey said they think it is the job of an adult child to provide care for an aging parent. And about half of participants said that extends to the adult child providing financial support.

There is no question your kids will step up and do whatever is needed to keep you safe and secure as you age. But it’s up to you to make that job as easy as possible. And that’s where I see so many parents dropping the ball. You don’t talk to your adult kids about your finances. You haven’t given them important legal rights to step in and help you when the time comes.

Don’t think that time will ever come? Hope is not a plan. I wish you a long life full of vigor and independence. But look around you. So many of us are now living into our 90s. Dementia and Alzheimer’s remain fierce challenges for many families. If you love your children, you will start talking to them –and planning with them – on how they can best step in and help you.

A durable power of attorney for financial matters is an absolute must. This will allow someone you appoint (such as an adult child) the right to step in and handle your financial affairs. A durable power of attorney is one of the Must Have Documents I encourage all adults, of all ages, to have.

Are you confident you will be able to support yourself comfortably in retirement? Or are you worried about running out of money if you live into your 90s. That’s understandable. Talking this through with your adult children today is crucial. They need to know if they might be called upon down the line to help support you. That could impact their own financial decisions in the coming decades. Or maybe you all do some forward thinking: a home for an adult child that just happens to have a convenient mother-in-law unit.

And every parent in their 50s and 60s owes it to their kids to consider long term care insurance as family protection. I know the premiums are steep—it can be $3,000 or more a year. But that is a fraction of the cost of needing care later in life. Long term care insurance can provide in-home care or be applied to cover the costs of assisted living, or a nursing home.

If the cost of an LTCi policy is too high for you to consider, please talk to your kids about it. If they chip in, does it become affordable? Don’t tell me that makes you too uncomfortable. What should make you the most uncomfortable is 10, 20 or 30 years from now running out of money and needing your adult kids to pay for your care. That will be a huge burden. Asking them to contribute to an LTCi premium today will give you the care you may need later on, without becoming a financial burden on your kids. I bet your kids will thank you for the opportunity to contribute $1,000 or $2,000 toward your current LTCi premiums, in return for not having to face massive bills if you need care later on and don’t have this valuable insurance.

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