AS children, from the moment we grow up our parents are everything. As a guy, my dad was always my hero when I was kid, I wanted to grow up to be just like him, do the same thing he did professionally, and grow the same beard, the whole nine yards. As time wore on some of this hero worship was tempered, as I matured and understood that he too was only human, just like me. That feeling always lingered though, deep in my subconscious, there was always an ethereal, superhero like quality to him, and I always treated him diffidently because of it. When I started making my own way professionally and pulling in more money than I knew what to do with, the thought struck me that I should help my folks out, if they needed it, and I broached the subject when I went around for my weekly dinner with them.
This is where things got queasy, as I didn’t quite know how to ask the man who made me who I am today, the man I hero worshiped, if he needed any help. I didn’t want to do it, no matter how sensible a course it was. I did bite the bullet and thank god for that, because once I had pushed and prodded enough for him to bend his pride, and under mum’s stern glance, he finally caved and told me they had enough to go by, but not much in terms of saving for the long term. I was in my 20s then, and they were in their forties, dad in his late forties.
Bite the bullet
As much as we both hated that conversation, and as awkward as it was, it had to be done, and it was after much gnashing teeth, and thank god for that! Turns out their savings were a paltry affair, as most of it had gone into my college fee so that I didn’t have to start out life as a professional saddled down with the weight of a debt. They had not the means to provide for their future at all, something had to be done before things got worse.
I knew dad didn’t like owning up to any shortcomings in my presence, maybe he thought I would think lesser of him or something (of course I didn’t!). So I at least started with the easy stuff, ambiguous questions, like do you have enough? Is your future secure? I asked questions along those lines, ones that could be interpreted liberally, and left it there on the first night. I knew this was a process, and I needed to draw him out of his shell before I got down to the brass tacks.
Getting down to the brass tacks
Once the preliminary round was out of the way, it was time to get into the thick of it. This is the most crucial step, and I made sure I had all bases covered. I asked for documents, bank statements, and asked every possible question I could have. I found out that they had no mortgages, no outstanding debts, a few unpaid bills that I quickly took care of, and so it went sorting every last detail out. I made sure I knew where all the important documents were kept, made sure they had a will drawn out, and also asked if I could be given financial power of attorney so that they wouldn’t have to worry about any of it in the future.
Taking huge strides
After that, the first thing I did was get them a long term care insurance policy because they didn’t have any reserves to fall back on in case either of them were faced with a situation that required long term care in the future. To save money, I went through a quotes comparison website online so that I could find the most comprehensive coverage, and get the best deal possible on it. I checked out AccuQuote, SelectQuote and IntelliQuote among others (these are the only ones I can recall), and did a lot of research on all the offers before taking my final call. I also made sure I set up a retirement fund for them, and diverted some of my cash flow into that cache so that they might live in comfort once dad hung up the proverbial gloves.
I’ll be honest with you, it was bloody hard, and really, really awkward in the beginning. Despite this, I felt this was the right thing to do, and if we all did it, we wouldn’t have to make a last minute scramble when our parents have retired and then take on debts to help pay the bills. So despite how tough you think it might be, the alternative is still much worse, so go for it, and do right by the people that are responsible for your very existence.