In a new generation of money management, adult children of retired parents are taking on an important role: financial planner.
I had one of the biggest financial lessons ever when my parents remodeled their home.
My parents aren’t great money managers. Both of them have done well with high paying jobs. They prepare their own taxes, and their retirement funds had been doing well for some time. But they don’t understand the more contemporary concept of cash flow. Similar to what most Americans practice, they are conservative spenders but like to live high on the hog when they’re flush.
A New Generation of Money Conversations
That’s what happened with the house. Once both my parents went into retirement, they remodeled their house from the ground up. But they hadn’t thought it through financially. The market crashed and they had to put their dream home up for sale.
When your income is tied to a retirement fund tied to the stock market, you have to manage your money really carefully. Today’s tech savvy generation does this by using online financial planning tools. But my parents’ generation doesn’t live and breathe on Quicken files. They don’t know how to utilize the tools that are out there.
Their dialogue about money planning was indicative of their generation of spenders also. Instead of having fundamental kitchen table conversations about income and expenses, they’d only talk about money when they were feeling stressed out.
Bring Digital Value to Money Tradition
After the house debacle, I went back to teach my parents how to manage their finances in the digital world. We used GreenSherpa so that everything would be totally automated and display the information to help them make decisions.
My mom was thrilled. It was like magic for them. But they never logged on to check anything. My parents were still living by their bank balance, and letting that inform what decisions they could make.
Cloud Computing as a Financial Solution
This is where the cloud computing generation can bring value to their parents. I realized that my parents needed a person, not a computer, to keep them on track. As magical as GreenSherpa was to them, it was still through a human interpreter that they were going to get value. So I offered to meet with them every quarter, to look over the software and make a plan for that quarter. Handily, one of the features of GreenSherpa is that an adult kid can be a partner on a parent’s GreenSherpa account.
Prior to now, my generation of consumers may have never known what its parents’ financial situation is, until they see what’s left in the will. But by having an ongoing conversation about money and using a software tool to facilitate that, adult children can help make their parents’ lives less financially trying. The sandwich generation—those of us in our thirties and forties—can be responsible for having important financial conversations with an older generation.
Originally published on Green Sherpa