For many Americans, talking about money and debt was a no-no when they were kids, a taboo that carries into adulthood, complicating matters when grown-up children must help their aging parents.
Almost a third of midlife adults ages 40–64 provided regular financial support to their parents in the previous 12 months, according to a 2020 AARP telephone survey, while over two in five expect to do so down the road. More than half had given $1,000, while a fifth provided $5,000 or more.
But the statistics don't show the emotionally fraught nature of that financial relationship, financial coordinator Angela Matthews tells Yahoo Life and Yahoo Money.
“Oftentimes as children, we're taught to not speak, to not ask questions, to not be curious, especially when it comes to finances and what our parents are doing with it. Older generations typically think that they know it all, have done it all, and they get to be all for us,” Matthews said. “But what happens when we find out there are secrets in the closet that have not come out to light?”
Just ask Demelza Campbell, who well into adulthood discovered that her own parents, who stayed quiet about their financial affairs for a long time, were $86,000 in debt while in retirement.