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How to Talk to Your Parents About Money

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They changed your diapers, bathed you, fed you, and gave you rides to school—and now you have to give them financial advice? Well, maybe.

If you’re an adult and your parents still haven’t learned how to manage money, then you might very well be facing what is called the “powdered butt syndrome.” Once someone has powdered your butt, they really don’t ever want your advice. Ever.

You may be a brain surgeon, and your dad may be tickled pink about your accomplishments, but he’ll seek a second opinion about something as simple as a headache. You can’t force yourself on people who don’t want to be held accountable, and yet you have a responsibility to your parents to step in if the stupid financial behavior is so bizarre that it must be addressed.


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Here’s an example: Mindy’s mother had been widowed for just over a year when she began going on trips to Las Vegas with a local seniors group. At first, Mindy was pleased because her mom was finally getting out and not sitting at home in misery.

But then her mother began asking her for money. Mindy hadn’t realized it, but her mom had been losing a lot of money to gambling. She lost so much money that she was putting her future in jeopardy.

Mindy called a family meeting, an intervention. Her loving brothers, sisters and other close family members gathered to explain to their mother how afraid they were for her and how she must change.

Another way to influence Mom or Dad is to find someone who has credibility with them to explain the need to change. An uncle, good boss, coworker, or pastor that Mom or Dad trusts will have much better luck with a wake-up call than you will.

Outside experts can also be a way to wake up your parents. Sometimes, books or videos can say the same thing you want to say. But, since it’s an author or financial expert giving the advice, all of a sudden it makes sense.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Those who are convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.” So when you sit down with your parents, be gentle. Have a cup of coffee and start talking about your mistakes first.

Talk to them about how you overcame financial problems and you want the same thing for them. It may take more than one conversation, and you might have to get others involved, but you can plant the seeds of change.

One way to do this is to give the gift of Financial Peace in the form of the best-selling book Financial Peace Revisited. Dave shares how he went bankrupt and the slow and steady journey to where he is today. Also consider Dave’s best-seller, The Total Money Makeover, where they’ll learn to recognize the most dangerous money myths and how to dump debt and change their family tree forever.

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