No one likes talking about what will happen as they get older. It’s just not really a fun topic. But it’s an important one. Fidelity recently released a study that shows a massive disconnect between what parents and their children expect as their parents age. As the author says, your children are happy to help, but they need to understand what you want.
Two of the disconnects stood out as especially troublesome.
The study found that 72% of parents planned on having one of their children act as long-term caregivers. This would be fine, except for the fact that 40% of the children that were identified as the long-term caregivers didn’t know about it.
Being a caregiver is an incredibly hard job. It’s something that should be discussed before it’s needed. Waiting to talk about this with your children until something happens and you need support is not only irresponsible, it’s dangerous.
Taking things out a little bit further, 69% of parents expected their children to help manage their finances as they age. Again, this is perfectly reasonable. Cognitive decline is real. And as you age it often makes sense to bring someone in to help make sure that everything is working smoothly.
But 64% of the children who would be stepping in didn’t know their parents’ wishes. Again, these are the types of things that need to be discussed beforehand. It just doesn’t work if everyone’s not on the same page.
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