“We all go through transitions in life, and at a certain point, it becomes natural to discuss how you and your siblings might support your parents as they age. The ability to help pay for that support may differ; one of you might work for a nonprofit, for example, while another is an executive. When the conversation is triggered by an event—say, Mom falls and breaks her hip—it can quickly become emotional. It’s far better to be proactive and have a discussion when everyone is still healthy. You should ask, ‘What do we know about Mom and Dad’s financial circumstances, and what responsibilities might we have to bear, as a group, to support them as they age?’”
—Jim Sandager, a certified financial planner, is senior vice president at the Wealth Enhancement Group. He lives in West Des Moines, Iowa.