Spokane Journal of Business

Getting financial advice for your parents

Adviser offers ideas to help people approach parents for financial second opinion

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There are many talks that your parents get to have with you, and I’m sure that in this day and age, many parents have Googled “when is the right time to talk to your kids about … .”

In reality, I get many adult children who come to me saying they wish their parents would get a second opinion about retirement planning. They’ve worked their whole lives saving into a retirement plan or are currently with an adviser/broker that doesn’t appear to have their best interest at heart.

Let’s dig into this a bit more and brainstorm a few ways that you may be able to help lead your parents to a relationship with an adviser they trust and who appreciates them, along with the hard work they’ve done saving all these years.

First off, for some, there is going to be a psychological roadblock your parents will have to work through. For many years, they’ve been the ones who you came to for advice and they always had an answer. They’re likely not accustomed to taking direction or advice from you, so you’ll need to “nudge” them in a way that doesn’t feel patronizing.

If you think that your parents need some help and they are open to hearing from you, I would recommend initially bringing it up and asking if you would like them to introduce you to your adviser whom you trust and have a plan in place with. If you know this won’t work, let’s move on.

A second option is to start sharing with your folks what you and your spouse are doing with your financial planning. “Hey mom, we’re going to meet with our financial adviser, do you mind watching the kids? They’ve really helped us get a plan in place to send the kids to college and we want to stick to it.” Your parents will feel good you’re taking control and may feel motivated to do the same.

Another low-pressure idea is to share anything that you find especially interesting that your adviser may send out. Don’t forward on a generic newsletter talking about tax reform; that’s boring (unless your parents are CPAs). Forward on the one that you found especially riveting and that might pertain to where they’re at in life.

Finally, if your adviser throws events, those can be a wonderful way to get your folks in front of someone and have it be a nonthreatening introduction. 

In that case, they’re just meeting someone new that happens to provide advice. Let the pieces fall into place and make it feel as though it’s their idea. 

I also would recommend that you give the adviser a heads up about your parent’s situation so they can be sure to introduce themselves. That should  help with building a relationship along with getting your folks comfortable and receptive to talking with the adviser on their personal finances.

If all else fails, send an email introduction between you, your folks, and an adviser. 

Again, give the adviser a heads up, and also let your folks know it’s coming. I would phrase it something like this, “Hey Mom, I want to introduce you to my adviser. He’s helped John and I get a plan in place, and I think it may be beneficial for dad and you to sit down with him. Whether or not you decide to work with him is totally up to you, but learning what he and his team have to offer can’t hurt.” Then send the email. If it’s an adviser worth her salt, she’ll reply in less than a day saying thanks for the introduction and how much they’ve enjoyed working with you then address your folks and offer to sit down for free over a cup of coffee.

Talk with your adviser as well. We have seen it before and likely can share a story about how we’ve transitioned someone when there was apprehension. 

It’s not at all uncommon and we are more than happy to help.


Ben Klündt is a financial adviser at Spokane-based Ten Capital Wealth Advisors LLC.
He can be reached at 509.325.2003.

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