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Talking retirement with Dad

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Posted: 12 pm ET

How much should you share with your grown children about your retirement planning?

"Everything," says Tim Prosch, author of "The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking with Your Adult Children About the Rest of Your Life," published in partnership with AARP.

Prosch says that when he says this, he gets a lot of push-back from people who say, "It's none of their business," to which he replies, "It is definitely their business because they are going to get stuck with it."

Prosch says his own parents believed that they had prepared well for a stable retirement. "Which they did, but their retirement wasn't stable."

His mother suffered from Alzheimer's and his father had severe multiple sclerosis that affected his ability to concentrate and made him forgetful. "My two brothers and I were left to figure out where their accounts were, what kinds of insurance they had. It took us months and months.

"One of the issues that drove me crazy: They had burial insurance, but we didn't know it, so we didn't make the quarterly payments. The company canceled the policy, so the money they had already paid was wasted," says Prosch.

Prosch recommends introducing your children to your financial adviser while you're still in control. "Share with them what your assets are and what your investment strategy is."

Then he recommends talking about your estate plan. "It saves on misunderstandings and hurt feelings if they hear it from you in person. If there is disagreement, it can be between you and your kids, instead of just between your kids."

With the gift-giving season of the year coming up, Prosch suggests giving his book to your kids as a conversation starter. He says it's a good approach for the same reasons that handing your kids a book on sex worked.

"You can start by saying, 'Any questions?'"

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