Sheepdog Podcast Episode 6: Having the talk.

When’s the last time you sat your parents down and talked to them about their money? If you’re like most people, it probably hasn’t happened yet and you probably have no plan for it to happen in the near future. Talking to your parents about their savings, their will, their hopes for what happens when they get older or after they die is unpleasant but as today’s guest shares is vitally important.  Cameron Huddleston is an award-winning journalist with more than 17 years of experience in the personal finance field.

Cameron’s experience taking over her mother’s finances after her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s inspired her to write a book on how to discuss finances with parents before it’s too late. It’s called Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances.

Her articles have been published in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Business Insider, Chicago Tribune, Fortune, Huffington Post, Money, MSN, USA Today and more. She’s the current Life + Money columnist for GOBankingRates.

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Read the transcript below;

Intro:                                     00:10                     Welcome to Sheepdog Financial. You will get answers to your financial questions, learn to plan for your financial future and have the type of life that people dream of brought to you by Trisuli Financial Advising, a fiduciary financial advisor practice focused on military members and their finances. Your host of Sheepdog Financial is Scott Vance

Scott Vance:                       00:34                     Greetings and welcome to this episode of Sheepdog Financial podcast. When is the last time you sat down and talked to your parents about their money? Like most Americans, you probably never have and you hope to never have that conversation with your parents, but in reality it’ll probably happen a lot sooner than any of us think. Today, we’re lucky to have Cameron Huddleston who will speak about having that essential conversation with our parents. Cameron is the author of “Mom and Dad: We need to talk,” which is about having those tough conversations with our parents. She is an award winning journalist who has written about personal finance for over 17 years. Her work has appeared in Kiplinger’s, Fortune, Huffington Post, Money, USA Today, and many others. She is currently the life and money columnists for Be sure to listen as Cameron talks about ways to ease into the conversation and gives examples of what happens if you don’t have that conversation. Lastly, she gives some good links to her website, which provides some resources to help as you speak with your parents about transitioning their financial lives.

Scott Vance:                       01:34                     Welcome Cameron, thanks for showing up.

Cameron H.:                       01:37                     Thanks so much for having me.

Scott Vance:                       01:38                     So Cameron, you’ve written a book that was born out of your own personal situation, a story that’s relatable to a lot of listeners and Americans today in general. With the growth of the sandwich generation and the number of people that deal with parents who are aging and they face those financial decisions, you’ve written a new book, and it’s called “Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations with Your Parents About Their Finances.” This is an issue facing many of us today and it is a question I get repeatedly from clients and listeners of this show. It has huge effects on the child and the parent’s financial situations, and it’s a tough conversation. So how did you start the conversation with your mother?

Cameron H.:                       02:20                     Well, the main reason I wrote the book is because I did not have the conversation early enough with my mom and I really regret that, that was a big mistake. I should’ve known better too because I am a financial journalist. I have been for more than 17 years and I should have realized how important it was to talk to my mom about her finances, but I just didn’t even see the need for having the conversation until she started showing signs of memory loss. I did have a conversation with her a few years before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about getting long term care. I had suggested to her that she look into getting a longterm care insurance policy because she and my father had been divorced for several years. She was living on her own and I knew if she needed longterm care, which is care that you would get in a nursing home or assisted living facility or even in your own home. I knew that if she needed that sort of care that a longterm care insurance policy would help pay for it. So she took my advice and she talked with an insurance agent and unfortunately she had a preexisting health condition. It was not dementia at the time, it was something else and she was considered too high risk to qualify for long term care insurance. At that point I should’ve said, okay mom, let’s sit down, let’s look at your finances, let’s figure out how we would pay for care if you ever needed it, but I didn’t. Like I said, I didn’t talk to her about her finances until it got to the point where I knew I had to start stepping in. When I saw that she was having trouble remembering, I told her that we should meet with an attorney to update her legal documents, her will, her power of attorney. In Kentucky it’s called a living will in some places it’s referred to as an advance healthcare directive. These documents are so important and she was fine with it. You know, I suggested let’s do it. She was on board, we went and met with the attorney, we updated these documents and it’s so important that you have these documents in place. They have to be signed while you are mentally competent. So if I had waited any longer to get my mom into meet with an attorney, the attorney might’ve said, I’m sorry, but your mom is no longer competent enough because of her dementia. I can’t allow her to sign these documents. And this is to protect the person who’s signing the documents because you don’t want someone who has been influenced, by a family member or someone else, to sign. Basically when you give someone power of attorney, you’re allowing them to make financial decisions for you. And that’s, that’s a huge responsibility and people can take advantage of that. With my mother, if she had not named me power of attorney and my sister power of attorney, while she was still competent, I would not have been able to legally get involved with their finances. As her memory declined, I would have had to go to court and go through a very expensive, lengthy process to be named her conservator. There was a man I interviewed for my book who actually had to do that, and he spent $10,000 and nine months going through the court process.

Speaker 4:                           05:33                     And I just don’t think people realize this, that if something were to happen to mom or dad, you know, say your mother had a stroke and she’s in the hospital and she’s there and then she has to go to a nursing home and she, she can’t access her bank account to pay the bills. She can’t, you know, communicate with the doctor right now because she’s lost her ability to speak because of a stroke. You, the child cannot simply go to her bank and say, I need access to my mom’s bank account to pay her bills. She’s had a stroke. She’s in a nursing home getting rehabilitation right now. They’re gonna say, well, we can’t give you access unless you’re her power of attorney. The doctor’s not going to talk to you unless mom has already named you her healthcare power of attorney. All these things have to be in place ahead of time.

Speaker 4:                           06:19                     So this is just, this is just one of the reasons people should be talking to their parents. They’re plenty of other ones too. But, and this is, you know, this is what, because of these conversations I had with my mom and because of the conversations I didn’t have before, it became necessary. It made me realize there are a lot of people out there who are going to end up in a situation like I did, who, who need to know how to have these conversations, who need to know what sort of information they should be finding out from their parents. And you know, maybe your parents ever have a health issue, but maybe they didn’t save enough for retirement and they’re going to need support for you. Or maybe they’re never going to need your help while they’re living. But everyone dies. And if your parents die without a will, that can create a huge headache for the people who are left behind, who have to sort through everything. And sometimes families end up in court fighting over who gets what. And so having these conversations sooner rather than later is just gonna make things a lot easier down the road.

Speaker 3:                           07:19                     Well guess so the guidance that you gave out about it’s never too early to start is probably very good guidance. But with people living longer lives in older people having more healthy lifestyles, allowing them to kind of continue on to the end a lot more in a much more active lifestyle, it may not seem appropriate or pressing the bring it up. When do you see as the appropriate or most prime time in as far as age for this to conversation to occur. And then the second part to that is if you’re afraid or resistant, do you have any tips for how you break the ice or get them, get them in the mood to talk about this?

Speaker 4:                           07:58                     A lot of people I hear from when I, when I talk about this, you know, they say to me, well, I’m not at that point yet. My mom and dad are still healthy. I don’t need to have this conversation. It’s too soon. Which is the wrong way to think about it. This is the perfect time to talk to your parents when they are healthy, when they are not having any issues. Ideally even before they retired, so thinking, oh my parents are in their 50s I don’t need to have this conversation with him yet because they could live into their nineties no, this is the perfect time to have the conversation. Have it while your parents are healthy, have it. While they are not having any memory issues, like I said, have it before they’re even in retirement. If you’re young enough and they’re young enough to have that conversation, if they’re already in retirement, don’t wait to have the conversation.

Speaker 4:                           08:49                     There’s not going to be necessarily any magical moment when you want to have this conversation. Certainly don’t do it in the middle of a holiday meal because they’re going to be, and people think that, you know, the holidays are a great time because everyone’s there together, your siblings. But oftentimes they’re going to be other people, other family members who don’t need to be a part of that conversation. And you know, in a lot of families the holidays can actually be a stressful time. And so bringing it up during the middle of a meal, a family meal is not a good idea. At least wait until the day after the holidays. But you can look for cues from your parents. You know, maybe your parents talks about a family friend who you know had a health issue or who now has dementia or maybe they make a comment about their house, about how it’s getting difficult to take care of their house.

Speaker 4:                           09:43                     Or maybe they make a comment about how they wanted to travel more in retirement, but they haven’t been able to. All of those are doors that if you walk through them and you know, take advantage of that opening, you can start to have these conversations. The parents, you know, are complaining about all the maintenance our house is taking. You might want to use that opportunity to say, you know, mom and dad, I realize that, you know, you lived in this house for a long time and you love it. But maybe it would be easier for you if you downsize to a smaller place. You know, my siblings and I, you know, we’re not going to be upset if you sell the family home and, and it would free up a lot of time and money for you to actually do the things you enjoy instead of spending the money on taking care of the house and spending your time on taking care of the house.

Speaker 4:                           10:31                     Or if they talk about a friend you know who had to go into an assisted living facility, you can use that as an opportunity to say, well, if something like that were to happen to you, mom and dad, what sort of care would you want? Would you want to have care in your home? Are you okay with an assisted living facility? Do you have a way to pay for it? So listening for those cues from your parents can be a way to start the conversation. Now, they might not ever say anything along these lines and that means it’s going to be up to you to find a way to start the conversation. And I know it seems so scary because especially with people who are, you know, in their, their sixties their seventies you know, my mother is 76 years old now. They were raised oftentimes not to even talk about money.

Speaker 4:                           11:20                     Like I know my dad raised me to not talk about money. He said, you know, you don’t talk about money, it’s impolite. And so they think of money as a taboo topic. So how do you get through to a parent who thinks of money as a taboo topic? You don’t necessarily make the conversation about money. You talk about maybe a bigger picture issue, like their retirement, you know, mom and dad, what is, what is your, what is retirement going to look like for you? What do you have planned for it? Or now that you’re in retirement, is it what you expected? And they might say, well, you know, I’m kind of in retirement or we wanted to travel more, but we haven’t been able to, well why not? You know? And they might say, well we can’t afford it. And that can open the door to conversations about their finances.

Speaker 4:                           12:05                     You don’t want to say directly to them if you know money is a taboo topic. Okay, mom and dad, let’s, let’s talk about your finances, don’t you? You don’t want to ask for the details. You know right off the bat because that’s going to put them on the defensive and it’s not so much about [inaudible] how much they have in the bank account, but where do they bank? If something were to happen to you, how are the bills paid? Because if I need to step in and help you, I need some information. I need to know whether you’re writing a check to pay those bills or what, whether it’s set up to be paid automatically. I need to know what sort of legal documents you have. It doesn’t matter to me necessarily how much you have in your retirement savings account, but I at least need to know what sources of income you had in retirement. So talking about things in a more general and more general terms as opposed to let’s get into the nitty gritty details of you know, how much money is in your savings account, your checking account that’s going to turn them off.

Speaker 3:                           13:05                     Well, yeah, that’s good advice. Easing into that conversation. Two ways to reduce that friction is probably essential. I know from dealing with my own parents. So talking about older parents, we talked a little bit before, you talked about, you mentioned older people sometimes have a taboo against money. One of the things I see again in my own parents is kind of, they separate their jobs. So Dad, my dad tends to handle the money and my mom tends to handle other stuff and I’m sure other parents said separate tasks like that, jobs and a mom and dad’s based on preferences. Given a situation like yours where one or the other is no longer available, how do you have that conversation with just the remaining parent? Especially given the fact that the remaining parent may not have had any experience with money, they may not have any desire to have any, you know, work with money and the knowledge necessary requisite knowledge that goes along with it.

Speaker 4:                           14:02                     Well, certainly if you, if there’s only one parent who is still living and that parent has not been involved with the finances, there’s certainly a need because you might, for example, it’s often going to be the woman, the woman who, who lives longer, who outlives her husband. And I’m not, you know, I’m not saying that because I’m a woman. I’m saying that because statistics show that the women tend to live longer and in older generations it’s very likely the case that, you know, if the man was working and the woman stayed at home, which was the case for many years with my parents, my mother was a stay at home mom and then she did go back to work after my dad and mom got divorced. But you know, if, if the, the dad handled the finances and mom did not, she’s certainly going to need help, you know, getting acclimated the process of managing finances on her own and she might not know where everything is.

Speaker 4:                           14:56                     And so really that can be a great opportunity for you to step in if perhaps, you know, your father passed away recently, you can offer to help mom out with the finances. Mom, you know, I know it’s been really difficult for you after losing dad. I want to help you. Offering to help a parent can be a really good way to, to learn about their finances. It obviously you’re helping them, so you’re helping mom figure out what’s going on with, you know, the bills. However they pay. Let’s, you know, mom, let’s look at the bank account. You know, maybe, maybe dad never had an online account. And so what you can say is let’s, let’s set up an online banking for you. Let’s, let’s, you know, create an account you’ve got, you know, here’s the, here’s the checkbook and we can see, you know, the make it count in the routing number.

Speaker 4:                           15:46                     We can go online and set up online checking and we can look and see how things were paid. I can help you do this. I can help you set up online bill payment to make things easier for you. Offering to help is a great way to have the conversation. Now, both parents are still alive, but you know that one handles the finances more than the other. This can also be a way to start the conversation. You know, maybe you could say something like, you know, dad, I know you’ve done a great job of handling the family finances all these years, but let’s maybe talk about what would happen if you were no longer around and it was just, mom, let’s, let’s talk about how we can set things up to make it easier for mom. Because I know oftentimes you know, if, if the man has been in charge, you know, he’s, he’s very much thinking about what’s going to happen to his wife when he’s no longer there.

Speaker 4:                           16:42                     Maybe he hasn’t involved her with the finances all along, but certainly he doesn’t want his life. Wife left struggling after he’s no longer there. I know a friend of mine who’s my age, you know, his father said that to him. You know, we’ve got to make sure that you know, your mom’s gonna be okay if I’m no longer around. So pointing that out very gently can help start those conversations. You know, and certainly another way that you could do it is talk about your own experience. You know, saying something like, I just met with an attorney to draft a will power of attorney living will I want you mom and dad or mom, whoever’s left, you know, to know where these documents are in case something happens to me. Where are your documents? Do you have these documents? Okay, well let’s, you know, you can meet with my attorney and we can make sure you have them too. Using your own experience is a good way to start those conversations too.

Speaker 3:                           17:36                     Well, yeah. Good. So we’ve talked a little bit about issues facing mom and dad and sit in the separation. We talked a little bit about some of the documents. What are some of those documents that we’ll need to have in place? I kind of look at it. Basically three kinds. Essentially there’s the, what I call the, the legal elements that your will, your trust, power of attorney. I think about the second part of that is the, the dreams and aspirations. So what they want for their state, if they want to leave money to say charitable organization or their grandkids for school. And then probably the admin part of that is all the accounts, passwords, keys, auto payments, withdrawals from the account. So can you speak a little bit about how you handle that as far as putting all that into place and what you need to have?

Speaker 4:                           18:25                     Well, you’re certainly right. You need to know about all of those things. The more information you can get about your pine parents’ finances, the better. Now, of course, that’s easier said than done at the least. You do need to find out whether they have a will or a living trust. Either these documents will spell out where they want their assets to go when they die. And I know oftentimes people like plenty of people don’t even have a will. They don’t have a will, they don’t have a living trust. And I don’t think a lot of people even realize that if you die without a will,

Speaker 4:                           19:02                     The state has one for you. The state law will determine who gets what. And it might not be the person you want to get your stuff. You might be married, but in your state it’s divided equally between your wife and your kids. But maybe you want your wife to get everything and you might not realize that state law is going to give half your money, half your assets to the kids. And this can create a problem oftentimes if there step kids involved. So you want to find out, do your parents have a will or a living trust? Encourage them to get it. Do they have a power of attorney? Have they named someone to make financial decisions for them? If there comes a time when they no longer can, do they have a living will or advanced healthcare directive. This spells out what sort of end of life medical care they do or do not want.

Speaker 4:                           19:48                     And do they have someone they’ve made to make medical decisions for them if they have these documents? Great. Okay. Mom and dad, where are they? Where, where, you know, who have you named me to be executive. You’re well have you named me to be your power of attorney or healthcare? Power of attorney. Okay. If so, tell me where to find these documents because if something were to happen to you, I need access to them just because they’re there. It doesn’t do me any good. I have to have actual access to these documents. If they don’t, you want to make sure that they meet with an attorney to draft them. There are low cost options available online. Sometimes you can even get, you know, free will. If you go to your State Bar Association, look it up online and type in, you know, whatever state you live in, the Bar Association and free will and you can find documents that you can download.

Speaker 4:                           20:38                     Start there. Like I said earlier, you want to make, you want to find out how they’re, how they’re paying their bills. So are they paid automatically or they paid check because of course if something were to happen to your parents, you want to make sure that those bills are still getting paid. And then getting the details about, you know, what sort of insurance policies they have, what sort of debt they have. Do they still have a mortgage? Do they have credit card debt or they car loan debt? What sort of sources of income do they have for retirement? Or if they’re still working, what sort of sources of income do they have? Their usernames, passwords for their accounts. Now they might not want to tell you this information, but they might be willing to write it down and you could suggest that they write it down for you.

Speaker 4:                           21:25                     Put it someplace safe with those legal documents. And tell you how to access it if something were to happen to them, you know. But like you said, sometimes it’s easier to kind of talk about those, you know, what are your wishes? What sort of legacy do you want to leave behind? Because it could be easier for them to talk about that and start there than to talk about the details of their finances. You know what, it’s so important to let your parents know that you’re having these conversations because you’re looking out for their best interests, that you want to know what their wishes are so that you can follow through on them. And you also want to ask them, you know, what sort of plans do they have for longterm care? Because this is a really big issue. This is what happened to me personally with my mother.

Speaker 4:                           22:12                     You know, as people are living longer, there’s a greater chance that they will need some sort of longterm care. I mean, you know, more than half of adults who reach age 65 are going to need some form of longterm care in their life. And longterm care can be incredibly expensive. And so if your parents don’t have any way to pay for it, most likely that means you are there longterm care plan and you need to know this so that you can take steps to prepare your own finances for this responsibility. So you know, finding out the details of their finances, the legal documents, what their plans are for longterm care. All of these things you need to address with your parents. And I’m not saying that you need to do it in one conversation. This can happen over several conversations. It can happen over time. And if they’re reluctant to talk, like I said, ask them to write it down, put it someplace safe and tell you where to find that information if an emergency were to arise.

Speaker 3:                           23:13                     Yeah, leaving behind that information is essential. I know in my time in the army we had one instance, well and a couple of incidents, but where fellow soldier was killed in action and he had left behind a very specific outlined plan. So all his wills and documents, all his passwords were all in a three ring binder. He also include in there everything about his funeral. He had written his obituary, he had pictures and it made it really easy for the wife and family at that time to take care of it and just do what he wanted. So that prep work is essential too. Make that transition a lot easier for the family.

Speaker 4:                           23:52                     Certainly. And you can let your parents know that too. You know, it’s, you know, if something were to happen to you, mom and dad, it’s going to be very difficult for me. And you know, think of this as a gift to me or you know, you know, parents, both parents are still alive. Dad, if you did this, it’s gonna make things easier for mom. Mom, if you did this, it’s gonna make things easier for Deb. Like, you know, your, your friend in the military who it, I mean, because he was so prepared, it made things easier for his family, his loved ones who were left behind.

Speaker 3:                           24:23                     Yeah. He had a plan. I mean, he even had the music he wanted played at his funeral. So it was just put it into action. It was really easy for his family. It’s awesome. Yeah. One last final gift. Okay. So we’ve talked a little bit about what to put in place if there’s no prep work done, what possible bad outcomes do you see come, I know you talked a little bit earlier about your friend that’s spent, I think you said about $10,000 over a year trying to get control of his mother’s finances. So especially the impact on the personal side for the family. So the child side

Speaker 4:                           24:59                     Certainly. So yes, if you, if you have a parent who you know develops dementia for example and can no longer manage his or her finances, you know, on their own. Then if you have not been named that power of attorney or the healthcare power of attorney, you do have to go through court to be named conservator or guardian for your parents. This basically involves putting your parents on trial to prove that they are no longer mentally competent and it’s expensive. You know, and I sit and I know some people would say, well aren’t those legal documents expensive? The will, the power of attorney, the the advanced directive. Yes there is a cost but it is a fraction of the cost that your family members will have to pay to go through the court process if those documents haven’t been drafted. So there’s that aspect of it.

Speaker 4:                           25:51                     If for example, your parents need longterm care and they haven’t planned for it, they don’t have a longterm care insurance policy, they don’t have savings set aside in addition to their retirement savings to cover it because Medicare does not pay for longterm care. A lot of people don’t realize that the only government program that will pay for it is Medicaid. But you have to have very few assets and very low income to qualify for Medicaid. So talking to your parents in advance about longterm care and how they would pay for it. And if you know they don’t have a way to pay for it, this is something you, you need to be thinking about right away. Because it might mean that if something were to happen to your parents, you might have to stop working to take care of them. Or maybe were thinking about downsizing now that your kids are older or they’ve gone off to college, you might not want to downsize because you might want to have room in your house to move mom in with you if something were to happen.

Speaker 4:                           26:54                     Maybe your parents don’t have enough set aside for retirement and again, they might need to move in with you. Having these conversations sooner rather than later allows you to develop a plan. It allows you to be proactive rather than reactive and you have so many more options when you’re being proactive as opposed to reactive. You mean I because I did not talk to my mom before she developed dementia about longterm care. The conversation if I had done in advance, could have been hypothetical. What would we do if it’s, you’re talking about a what if scenario, which is easier than we’re facing this now. It’s no longer a what if it’s we had to deal with this and how are we going to deal with it. And, and at that point, emotions are running higher and it’s harder to make rational decisions. And I had to make decisions for my mother hoping that I was making the best decision for her doing what I thought would be best for her.

Speaker 4:                           27:55                     Like at the point when we had to sell her house and move her in with me at the point where I had to move her into assisted living, I had to make those decisions for her because she was no longer capable of making them herself. And I didn’t like having to do that. You know, if I talked to her beforehand, before she was having memory issues, I would have had a clear picture as to what she would have wanted. And so just, it’s, it’s just honestly, it’s, the conversation might seem very awkward and very difficult, but the consequences of not having the conversation are a lot worse. You know, you’re making decisions for your parents without their inputs. You’re having to go to court, you’re having to, you know, maybe you never had to take care of them, but if they die without the will, then you know, you’re trying to figure out what they wanted. And you know, honestly, families that got along great before someone died. After someone’s no longer there, people start fighting over what’s left behind. I mean it, it happens. I’ve heard this from attorney after attorney, that families that got along great when someone dies, there’s all sorts of fighting and people can end up in court and so you are going to prevent some really ugly scenarios by having these conversations sooner rather than later.

Speaker 3:                           29:14                     Sure. So planning is key. But so now you’ve gone through, so say if you’re past the point of planning and you’re deep into it, do you have any recommendations for people that are beyond the planning that have to execute, for lack of a better term at this point where they’re making those decisions? Maybe dealing with siblings, with other family members, any idea, you know, maintaining finances. Do you mix them, those kinds of things? Yeah. The first

Speaker 4:                           29:42                     Thing you should do if you do have siblings is talk to them. All of you need to get on the same page. If you know you’re already in a situation where mom or dad is needing help from you as the child, you and your siblings need to talk about the roles you can play and are willing to play. Because if you’re not on the same page, there’s going there can be fighting. I’m not going to say there necessarily will be, but there can be fighting and you don’t want there to be any resentment. You know, if you step in and start taking over mom’s finances, you’re, you know, younger brother might be upset that you’re doing this without input from him. So talk to your siblings before you do anything. Come up with a plan that you can all agree on and, and make sure that you, when you have these conversations with your siblings, you point out, you know, this is not about us.

Speaker 4:                           30:35                     We need to do what’s best for mom or dad. This is what we have to keep in mind as we create this plan. So you talked to your siblings and then as you approach your parents, even if they are having issues already, you know, maybe they didn’t manage their finances well and they need help in retirement. Maybe they’re not making good decisions because they’re starting to have problems with their memory. You have to remember that these are still your parents. You need to be respectful and so you need to tread lightly. You don’t want to just kind of run in and start taking over. Find ways to gently start inserting yourself into their finances. Perhaps like offering to help mom and dad. Let me help you set up online banking because it’s one less thing you have to worry about paying those bills. You won’t have to worry about them being late or what I did with my mother, and this was easy for me because I lived in the same city with her.

Speaker 4:                           31:33                     You know, I offered to help her go through her mail store through it and get rid of the junk mail because she was getting so many solicitations for charitable contributions to organizations to which she had no ties. All of these sweepstakes entry forms and she was writing checks to all of these, you know, all of these requests for money. Every time she would get when she’d write a check because she was no longer making good financial decisions. And so just offering to help her go through her mail, I’m going to sort the junk from the bills, finding a way to help. Now if you’re not there in the same city, it makes a little bit more difficult, you know, so you might want to talk to your parents about scams. It’s a good way to kind of open the door to these conversations. You know, mom and dad, I just got one of those calls from someone claiming to be with the IRS.

Speaker 4:                           32:27                     You know, they said that that I owed money and that I’m, you know, subject to an audit. And if I don’t pay up right away, they’re going to send a sheriff over to arrest me. Mom and dad, this is a scam and you need to out for these things. Let them know about the red flags of scams. Have you, you know, mom and dad, have you gotten a call like this or mom and dad? If you ever get someone asking you to wire the money, this is a scam. Or if you get an email that tells you to click on a link you need to watch out for this. Or if someone comes and knocks on your door, it says they’re doing, you know, repairs and the neighborhood. Be careful, warn them about scams and then offered to help them out. Say, you know what, let me put your, your phone number on the do not call list.

Speaker 4:                           33:11                     Let, let’s go and check your credit report to see, make sure there aren’t any fudge related accounts that have been opened up in your name. Using that as a way to start getting involved. You don’t want to scare them, but you want to make them aware. Finding these ways to start inserting yourself Gentily because like I said, you don’t want to just run in and take over and you don’t want to, you know, issue ultimatums. You know, if you don’t let me do this, then I’m not going to help you at all because that’s, that’s not gonna help the situation out. It’s just gonna put them on the defensive and make them withdraw from you. So do get involved. The tread lightly.

Speaker 3:                           33:46                     Well good. So as we close, get ready to close this out. Some other questions I have for you. So you’ve got 17 years as a fat personal and financial reporter. What do you think is the most enlightening story that you’ve written in your time?

Speaker 4:                           34:01                     Oh Geez, that’s a tough one. I mean, I think one that I actually had people reaching out to me after I wrote it because surprisingly, I don’t, I don’t get a whole lot of response on things that I’ve written unless I write something that makes someone really mad. But I did write an article about this man who, when he was in college, made some really bad choices. He was a drug user and he had given a friend of his, some drugs. They got high and the friend overdosed and he was arrested and charged and his friend’s death. And ended up spending 10 years in prison. Hmm. But the thing is he, he didn’t give up like he decided and he was, he was a, he is a white man from an upper middle class family and realize that basically he had been living a life of privilege and because he was in jail, that privilege had been taken away from him and that he was up to him at that point to make sure that he did something, you know, with his life that he didn’t waste his time in prison.

Speaker 4:                           35:13                     He was, he continued to educate himself. He started writing and he got out of prison with a plan, you know, he was gonna move back in with his parents, find a job, save up money. And I think his, his story is really incredible because he went from a very bad situation, created a plan, turn it around and he’s now married, he’s on a path wealth. He started his own business. He is investing in rental property, building up income, you know, on the very straight and narrow path now. And I just think it shows that even if you are in a very bad situation, it doesn’t mean that you’re stuck there. There is still a chance to turn your life around.

Speaker 3:                           36:00                     Yeah. That’s a, that’s an aspiring to becoming from that all the way to being successful after dealing with that, which I’m sure was being in jail is terrible to start with. But being in jail for killing your friend is probably even more so terrible than it would be.

Speaker 4:                           36:17                     Right. Okay. Well thanks a lot. And how can my listeners reach out and contact you? So you can visit my website. It’s Cameron There’s information about me and my book and there I even have a couple of resources that you can download for free. One is a, a fill in the blank inventory financial inventory that you can give to your parents so that they can write down all the information about their finances and their final wishes. Even their obituary. Give it to them. They can stash it away someplace safe. I even have a scam red flags sheet that you can download and give to your parents. Tell them to put it by the phone or on their refrigerator. Those are free on my site and there’s also links to all my social media accounts where you can follow me there. Yes.

Speaker 1:                           37:06                     Well, very good. Thanks a lot. Thank you.

Speaker 2:                           37:12                     [Inaudible].

Speaker 1:                           37:12                     We’ve just scratched the surface of this terribly important topic that is also very difficult. Doing some planning and having these hard conversations early and now can make it very trying time in your life. Just a little bit less stressful. Learn more and get her recent book. Mom and dad, we need to talk in the show notes. We’ll have a link to those resources and thanks for listening. Thank you for listening to sheep dog financial. Visit us for more military centered financial resources.