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Do You Have a Clear Picture of Your Parents' Finances?

Do You Have a Clear Picture of Your Parents' Finances?

Many of our parents are nearing retirement age, and it's likely their retirement portfolios took a hit with the market. Almost half of you said your parents have a good idea about your financial state, but does the transparency go both ways?

Ron Lieber of The New York Times suggests it's important to open an inter-generational dialogue about the family's finances: He says parents should be honest if their retirement savings have been devastated and their kids should admit their monthly debt payments.

Do you have a clear picture of your parents' finances?


Join The Conversation
luminousfae luminousfae 8 years
Ever since the age of about 10-13 my parents have included us in the family decision making. They felt that if the decision was going to affect our lives we should at least have a say. Sometime we were overruled but there was a always a discussion and different point of view out in the open. That has always included the financial aspect of what they had, owed, could spend, etc. My parents have always been very big on financial education.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
"(I posted once before that this active, healthy, nonsmoking, hardly-ever-touches-booze man happens to be a self-managing diabetic - developed when he was about 58 or so - and that alone caused HIS health insurance bills to go over 1000 DOLLARS a month, and he's not even 65. Its sickening.)" My father is in the same situation, ShadowDamage and it infuriates me. My mom always keeps me in the loop about their finances but I forget easily and/or tune it out, though I should really pay more attention and take it seriously. Both my parents, but especially my mother, are very financially savvy people, so I've learned a lot from them but I still have a lot more to learn.
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
My dad is a very financially-minded person - concerned always about being sure he and mom are comfortable. As a rule he is a successful but careful investor and has weathered this as well as he can - he has to, because his health insurance bills are INSANE. (I posted once before that this active, healthy, nonsmoking, hardly-ever-touches-booze man happens to be a self-managing diabetic - developed when he was about 58 or so - and that alone caused HIS health insurance bills to go over 1000 DOLLARS a month, and he's not even 65. Its sickening.) But I digress.. I am "somewhat" in the know about their finances but not expertly so. In terms of debt, they have none. Dad is a cash man, and even their houses were bought virtually without loans. They also are both adept at DIY so even building homes was something they did, with his architect and woodworking skills and mom's design skills, every time they built a place I was just green with envy (and full of pride too. Hehe.) I trust my father's acumen in this regard and I know whatever it is, they are as "okay" as they can be, and never in debt. As the one who will someday inherit their property and any accompanying responsibilities, they do occasionally remind me of that, but don't go into detail. However they are the kind of practical folks that when the time comes, they will make sure I know what I need to know to handle matters for them, which is all I ask. I don't expect anything from my family, really, mostly I just want to be sure whatever happens is in line with what they wanted.
Dhorwich Dhorwich 8 years
I have a general idea of where my parents' finances lie, but I also know that my dad is battling an incurable cancer which means he'll be putting a lot of his own money into health care once his health insurance runs out - and cancer is, well, expensive. My older brother has all of the specifics on this stuff, should there be any need for the kids to get involved. Thankfully my parents have been really responsible and passed that on to all 4 of their kids.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Yes, I do. They're both retired, debt-free, and mortgage paid-off. They have a considerable amount of savings, too.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I have a pretty good idea of my parents' finances. I know they have a lot of credit card debt, two mortgages on their house, and no savings besides what's in their 401(k). I am sort of worried about them because they are only about 15 years away from retiring and I don't think they have enough saved for a decent retirement. My dad was out of work for about 6-8 weeks a while ago and that threw their budget off really quickly. I don't think they have any safety cushion if anything bad were to happen and that definitely scares me.
stargazer25 stargazer25 8 years
I have a general understanding of their financial situation, but not in actual dollar terms.
SDTransplant SDTransplant 8 years
I already have a more than general understanding of my parents' finances, but if I knew more about the specifics, I'd probably have an ulcer right now. They're not in the best shape right now and I already feel sad when I dwell upon what I do know.
mlen mlen 8 years
i have a good general idea. i know they have no debt and a good savings. i'm not sure on the specific numbers on everything but they are well off. and i know they have a binder of everything so if i ever needed the info i should be ok
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i have no idea what kind of shape my father is in since i don't see him all that often, but i know that he's comfortable and is looking to buy a 2nd home so that means that things must be ok for him. he's also a lawyer so i'm sure that means that he's got a good retirement nugget there. as for my mom - i do know what her finances seem like - i don't know exact amounts, but i could certainly guestimate and know that she's ok.
Jeny Jeny 8 years
My parents are always spending beyond their means, and I've realized that I learned alot from that so I've had to 'retrain' myself to better understand and live within my means.. They have a huge house with lots of land, a few cars, and from the outside it looks like they're doing great, but when I ask to borrow $40, my dad tells me he's broke until payday.. WOW. I've learned so much from that and my money is definitely being saved along with a CD and smarter purchase decisions.
hex913 hex913 8 years
My parents took a vacation across the country last year and sat me down and told me everything, just in case.
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
My mom told me last night they didn't have a mortage when they bought their first house (!!!!) so I assume their current one is paid off too ... and they save like fiends so I think they are pretty well set. But I know there's a lot I don't know. I've asked them a few times to make me a packet of everything I'd need to know if something happened to them (where their will is, who their doctors are, etc.) and they haven't yet - so I think I wouldn't have much luck asking about money, either.
supercoolnat supercoolnat 8 years
My dad had a health scare about two years ago that really opened up our eyes to how important it is to be transparent about money. It's difficult talking about the what-ifs as your parents age, but it's an important discussion to have, to ensure that their hard-earned money goes to where they intend it to.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
I have no clue. I just know things are rough for them with my dad recovering from cancer and having been unemployed during treatment. He's the breadwinner of the family, so it's understandably rough.
melizzle melizzle 8 years
Yup. It's important to know where they stand and how you will be expected to support them in their old age. Long-term care insurance, folks!
booglass booglass 8 years
I think this is important as parents age. I am very grateful that my father has been open with me and set things up so that in the event that I have to take over and make decisions for him, I can. If you are likely to be the primary party responsible for your parents care or estate, it is worth it to have that very tough discussion. I have seen the messes that result when you don't.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
Nope, not a clue. They always told us it was none of our business (and that's what I tell them about mine). I am thinking they are pretty well-off now (compared to when i lived @ home). And I think their house is paid off now should eb anyways...
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