Talking Money

This morning on Your Caregiving Journey, Ellen Rogin joined me for our monthly discussion about our relationship with money. You can listen to our show via the player below.

Today, we focused on creating, and then communicating about, your caregiving budget. Often times, it’s the thought of talking to family members about the caregiving budget which can make the budget the loudest four-letter word in our day. We begin to just HATE the budget.

Ellen and I talked about some common fears we have when we talk about money and offered strategies which can help you feel more comfortable and confident when you have to present the numbers.

So, I’d love to know: How do you handle communication about your caree’s caregiving budget with other family members? Do you provide monthly updates? Updates when requested? Please share your experiences in our comments section, below.


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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

2 thoughts on “Talking Money

  1. Trish

    Denise, I’ve been listening to many of your shows via podcast and am so happy that I am able to do that! Ellen is an interesting guest (she’s about the whole person, not just the money) and I look forward to this conversation too. Thank you!

  2. Avatar of ejourneysejourneys

    There were only two money-related discussions with my partner’s family, both of them brief. The first was after her hysterectomy in 2009. Her father had offered to pay for it.

    Her father was also her abuser. I thanked him for his offer and told him I’d get back to him on that. (For one thing, the bills kept coming in for about a year, plus there was a dispute that led the hospital to do an internal investigation. Fortunately, I had kept all the statements the insurer had sent.)

    Money had been used as a weapon in my own upbringing, so I am very sensitive to how it can be used as a manipulative agent. After talking with my partner, we decided not to take her father up on his offer. I never said no directly to him, but neither did I say yes.

    My partner has been doing a lot of emotional healing in the interim. That included writing and sending a letter to her father where she spelled out what he had done to her and its effects on her. To me, that is more than worth the cost of the surgery. There was nothing financial hanging over her as far as he was concerned, and I believe that empowered her to write what she had to write.

    Her father is now critically ill and is not expected to last past year’s end. My partner feels she can now deal with him “as an adult” and their occasional phone conversations have been on more of an even keel. Money should have had nothing to do with this, but I believe it did, and that remaining financially independent from him has helped my partner in her own care. Her improved care has helped me by extension.

    As for the second discussion, we’ve been told in an email that in the event of the death of both my partner’s parents (her mother is in her 90s), a special needs trust has been set up for her as part of what is inherited by her and her siblings.

    Except for an occasional email and a rare phone call, her siblings have been uninvolved in any aspect of my partner’s life, let alone in her care. They stay in touch with each other and with their parents over long distances. My feeling is that they have simply written my partner off as far as communication is concerned, plus I suspect not all of them know about my partner’s true condition. (I’ve made disclosures to a sibling my partner trusts. The sibling decides whom to tell and whom not to tell.) I believe my partner’s parents have been genuinely concerned about her (they’ve been her only relatives to call us, rather than the other way around), but I also feel there is only so much that they can do, especially in their condition. (Her mother has some dementia now.)

    My own closest relatives are a few cousins, with whom I have been out of touch for years, with no desire to resume communication (there’s baggage there, too).

    As for managing money, I have a financial advisor — in fact, my partner had pressured me years ago to get one until I relented, and she is very proud of her contribution there. I’ve told the advisor on more than one occasion that he’s also my bartender. :-) His assistant tells me I’m not the only one who views him as someone I can tell my troubles to — and, yes, I’ve given her a flyer. :-)

    One of the toughest decisions I made last year was to change my own POA, so that if anything happens to me that prohibits me from managing my finances, my advisor can take over for however long. I’ve had to deal with my own feelings of vulnerability with respect to control, and with the heartbreak of realizing and accepting my partner’s limitations.

    I maintain Excel spreadsheets for day-to-day financial recordkeeping. I keep track of all income and expenses, with a separate sheet for itemizing tax deductions (including medical expenses, mileage for drives to health care providers, etc.). I do this anyway, being a freelancer.


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