joy loverde
Joy Loverde

Path Carver.
Keynote Speaker.
Best-selling Author.

Solo Aging ♦ Senior Living ♦ Aging Parents

Why is No One in the Family Talking About Money?

Award-winning journalist and Reuters contributor, Chris Taylor wrote an insightful article titled, The Last Taboo: Why nobody talks about money.  Chris states that “44% of Americans point to personal finances as the most challenging chat anyone can possibly have.”

So what’s going on here? Why are family members so frightened to talk about this subject? Is it a family trait of silence? Is it fear of being taken advantage of? Sibling rivalry?

Historically, few people have had the experience of observing parents discuss finances when they were growing up. Experts say that not having role models to teach us the ropes about talking about money has a lot to do with keeping up the tradition of remaining silent.

This is what is compelling me to write about the topic of talking about money because I know firsthand that not talking with each other has serious consequences.

Let’s start with the facts (Beware. Sticker-shock ahead).

While the cost of care varies significantly by location, few people are prepared to pay the steep prices associated with living a long life.

For example, bringing a professional care worker into the home is a major expense. A 2021 Kiplinger article reported that the national median annual cost to hire a care worker was more than $61,000. By 2031, it could increase to $83,000 a year.

Annual U.S. nursing home costs continue to skyrocket. In 2021, a semiprivate room cost an average of $93,075 a year ($255 a day). For a private room, you would need to spend an average $105,850 a year ($290 a day). By 2030, these annual costs might rise to $142,254.

According to the National Center for Assisted Living, the median cost for assisted living in the United States averages $4,500 per month, not including up-front costs such as entry fees and nonrefundable deposits.

When driving is no longer an option, on-demand transportation services can run up a hefty tab. And what about eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dental care?

The possibility of having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to cover your parents’ long-term care and daily-living expenses is real. “There is evidence that caring for a parent in midlife substantially increases a woman’s risk of living in poverty in older age,” reports Sheryl Hickerson, financial consultant and owner of Females and Finance.

We’ve all been raised to be polite, and never ever discuss the subject of money with our parents. Instead, we wonder, worry and wait. How will they pay for care if they need it?  Will they outlive their money and will I get stuck with the bills?

Remaining silent about money within the family is not in your best interest. Avoiding sensitive financial discussions with parents and other family members will eventually backfire and shake the financial stability of the entire family.

The best time to initiate money conversations is right now when your parents are mentally competent and can make their own choices and decisions.

Be brave. Take a deep breath, and jump in. You’ll discover a wealth of talking tips by reading the “Communicaring” chapter in The Complete Eldercare Planner, 4th Edition.