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How To Talk To Your Parents About Managing Their Money

By Erik Folgate

Dave Ramsey has a saying called the “powdered butt” syndrome, which means that your parents have a hard time taking advice from you, especially financial advice, because they were once powdering your butt as a baby. Some parents have a hard time taking criticism or advice from their children, because they don’t want to think that their kids have more wisdom or knowledge than them. Some of you have parents who were great at teaching you how to handle money, and their finances are in great shape. But, the rest of you have parents that have no concept of managing money. They have no retirement saved, and you find yourself wondering what will happen to them when they are unable to work. Move in with you? Wow, that’s a scary thought. So, what can you do to overcome the “powdered butt” syndrome?

Let Them Approach You

Instead of jumping down their throat and telling them everything they are doing wrong with their money, let it be their idea to approach you for advice. Set an example by managing your money correctly and make subtle gestures about what you are doing with your money and how you are saving for retirement.

Buy Them a Money Management Book

There are plenty of financial management books out there, so pick your favorite and give it to them as a gift. They might scoff at you, but ask them to read it as a nice gesture for you taking the time to buy the book for them.

Ask Your Spouse To Talk To Them

This all depends on how strong the relationship is between your spouse and your parents. It also depends on your spouses willingness to get involved in the situation. I’ve found that often times a mother and her daughter-in-law can form a strong bond, especially if she never had a daughter. This could also apply to a father and son-in-law if they bond from the beginning.

Approach Them With Love

We all have a natural tendency to be defensive when someone approaches us about a sensitive issue without tact. Talking over a meal can sometimes ease the tension. Cook dinner for them if they live locally or the next time they visit, and tell them you are concerned with their future. If you do it out of love instead of selfish reasons, they’ll notice that.

Parents, do you have any other suggestions? How would you like your kids to approach you about money management? Has anyone gone through this with their parents in the past? Let us know!

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • Craig

    Dealing with parents or anyone older than you with money advice or any advice in general can be tough. They have different mentalities from the times and can be tough to talk, but I think if you are honest and straight forward it will pay off.

  • http://www.erikfolgate.com Erik

    Yeah, I agree. There are definitely barriers, but it’s important for sons and daughters to take an interest in their parent’s financial health.

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