Five Financial Questions for Mom


Mother’s Day is May 10 this year. While you may be planning to shower your mom with attention and gifts, why not take the opportunity to bond on a different level? Few children realize the importance of their parents’ wisdom until it’s too late. As an adult with a life of her own, your mother is full of stories, lessons and personal perspective. Take advantage of quality time by asking the following financial questions. What you learn could shape your own decisions.

  1. What’s the best financial decision you have ever made? Hindsight is 20/20 and your mom’s insight could help you make better choices in the future. Whether it was buying a home, saving for your college education or planning for retirement, she’s bound to have a few pearls of wisdom.
  2. What’s the worst? Wisdom is a product of mistakes. Every parent experiences their share of blunders, and finances are no exception. Maybe your parents lost a valuable investment, racked up credit card debt or bought a home they couldn’t afford. Whatever the issue, ask your mom for an honest account of past mistakes. Allow yourself to learn from her experience.
  3. If you were my age, what are three things you would do right away? We’ve talked about the value of time as it relates to money and credit health. Saving as little as $5 a day could secure long-term financial freedom. With that in mind, ask your mom what she would do if she could travel back in time. Would she buy a property in a developing neighborhood? Go back to school? Spend less money? Her answer is sure to be unique and relevant to your own life.
  4. How are you/how did you plan for retirement? This is a tricky one. According to a 2014 Wells Fargo survey, 41 percent of Americans are not saving for retirement, a serious concern for the aging middle-class. While your mother may not want to discuss specifics, it’s important to learn her opinions about
    • How and where to save
    • When to find a financial planner
    • Her successes and regrets surrounding long-term savings
    • How she lives/plans to live post-workforce
  5. Are you still paying for me? As an adult, you’ve probably established independence when it comes to money, but don’t discount the cost of raising a child. Your parents may still be carrying debts related to you, whether it’s student loans, medical expenses or some other type of long-term burden. If you are willing and able, talk about ways to lessen her debts by helping out whenever possible.