Start an open conversationWith your financial information in one place, you are ready to initiate an open conversation with your advocate to explain the role and make sure they are willing to play the part.
To start the conversation, it’s best to find a time when you’re alone with your financial advocate and no one feels rushed or distracted. You could talk after a meal, during a long drive, or while you’re checking in by phone.
Here are some conversation starters that you might try:
"Given all the uncertainty in the world today, I've been thinking about the future and who can help keep an eye on my money if I couldn't manage it on my own."
"I really respect your work ethic and how well you've done with your own finances. That's why I'd like to ask if you'd be willing to help me manage my money if it ever becomes too tough for me to do on my own."
"Do you remember how hard it was for so-and-so to take care of so-and-so's money when they got older and couldn't manage anymore? Well I would never want to put you in that position."
“I’m starting to get my affairs in order and I am hoping you can look after my accounts and other money matters if I need help later on.”
Overcoming conversation obstacles
What if your financial advocate isn’t prepared for the conversation? They might try to change the subject. But don’t get discouraged! Here are some common first reactions and helpful ways you can respond.
Your advocate says:
You might say:
This is depressing. I don’t want to think about you getting older.
It might be hard to talk about at first, but having this conversation now will make things easier later. It will make me feel better to know that I can count on you.
Oh no! Are you sick? What are you not telling me?!
I’m not trying to hide anything from you. I am simply putting together a plan for the future to keep my money safe. I am hoping that you could help me manage my expenses and other financial needs if there ever came a time when I couldn’t do it myself.
But you’re so healthy! You don’t need any help managing your money.
I certainly plan to stay healthy and I don’t need any help now, but it is smart to have a plan in case the unexpected happens. It gives me peace of mind to know that I’ve shared things with you and that you are comfortable with what I am asking.
Do we have to talk about this now? I have a lot of other things on my mind.
We can pick up the conversation later when you have less on your mind. But this is important so let’s put a date and time on the calendar to sit down and talk.
Give your financial advocate a chance to sit with the request and ask questions. Leave details about your income, savings, investments, and debt for later talks. The first conversation is really to get confirmation from your advocate that they are willing to help when needed and to explain "what the job entails. If they have specific questions, you can give them a copy of this handout that provides tips on managing someone else’s money.