A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post as I was contemplating the idea of financial intervention with parents. From this I had correspondence with several people that helped me think through this issue even further. Notably I have to recognize The Simple Life in France for asking some great questions, Dr. Dean for a great related and inspiring post about parents at risk and Money Reasons for the continued motivation.
Joe Plemon won the inspiration award by challenging the status quo. He questioned the idea of writing a letter to connect with parents regarding money. He rightfully raised concern over the potential of ruffled feathers. No doubt it could.
I couldn’t help but wonder if there is a sure fire way to write a letter that would get our parents engaged. No matter how many times I wrote the letter, the only result I could see was catastrophe! But then Dr. Dean provided the answer, engage your parents by asking them to review your finances.
Assuming they agree to lend a helping hand once again to their child, once the conversation has begun about how you manage your money there will be plenty of openings to ask about theirs.
Here is a letter that I might send to my parents:
Being so far away makes it difficult to show you both how much I love you.
I would not be the person I am if not for the support you have provided. You both worked very hard to provide for our family and yet you were always with us when we needed you most.
You were great role models. I remember you at every rugby match and swim meet cheering me on. You always stood up for what you believed and showed me it is OK to be different.
I admit, as a teenager, I definitely thought I was smarter than you but as an adult I now realize how wrong I was. The lessons I didn’t listen to then, I am learning from now.
As I reflect on those days when I was still home I also n0w recognize that I missed so many opportunities to learn more. I’ve followed grandma’s recipe exactly but the biscuits are just not the same. I would love to have a garden like Dad’s but I have no clue where to start. And how were you always so patient with us? Arrgg I wish I could learn that!
I am not sure if I will ever be able to learn these things from you, but there is one more thing I would appreciate your help with, my finances.
You always made this look so easy. I know we were not rich but you were always able to provide, even when Dad was out of work that one year.
Retirement for me is still many years away, but I’d like it to be much sooner. The next time we are over to visit, would you be willing to help me review my finances and provide me some advice on how I can improve.
Mom, Dad; I promise, I will listen this time!
Of course, there is no guarantee that your parents will open up about their own money, but this would be a safe way to try.
Readers with kids: How would you feel if you received this letter from your children? If your children were open and transparent with their finances, would you be more likely to share yours with them?
photo by roblisameehan
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