The Conversation No One Wants to Have. But You’ll Be Sorry If You Don’t.

This year would’ve been my father’s 95th birthday. It got me thinking about the day I went to my mother, wondering what my Dad, who was seriously ill, had planned for her after he passed.

I was terrified to ask her that question. When I finally screwed up the courage, she made it abundantly clear: this was not a conversation she wanted to have.

I made it even clearer: avoidance was not an option. Here’s what happened next:

1. We had “The Talk.” I had Mom sit down with Dad and look at all their financial documents: bank statements, investments, estate planning, etc. This was not, by any means, an easy conversation. Nerves were frayed. Mom glazed over. Dad lost patience. I kept scratching my wrist (a nervous habit) until it bled. But by the end, Mom knew where every penny was and what arrangements he had (and hadn’t) made.

2. We assembled “ The Team.” My Dad was very much a do-it-yourselfer. Mom needed the support of professionals. First my sisters and I found an estate lawyer and together my parents created a very good, tax efficient estate plan. Then we helped her find an investment advisor and a CPA. She still meets with her team on a regular basis to this day.

3. We updated documents. We made sure the Will, Power of Attorney, EVERYTHING reflected their latest info and current wishes.

4. We had annual family meetings. These gatherings, though often emotional, put everyone on the same page while Dad was still alive. The meetings included my sisters, spouses, and all the grandchildren (we eventually had great grandkids crawling around too). My father shared his desires, needs and concerns, especially for continuing his philanthropic efforts.

By the time my father died, every detail was in order. There were no surprises. Practically speaking, his passing was seamless. Emotionally, it was devastating. But being financially prepared eliminated any aggravating hassles, giving us the time and space to fully grieve.

Have you ever put off a difficult conversation until it was too late? What would you do differently if you could? Leave me a comment below.

Comments & Feedback

  • Daniele Largo

    Barbara this article is awesome! Communication is always confrontational. Most people dread the very thought but it is usually very necessary for clarity, peace emotional well being. I have learned this as I have gotten older. Now when I find myself shrinking from something that needs to be done… I make myself confront it knees knocking and all. It’s always worth it. Thank you for sharing


    • barbara huson

      I love what you wrote Daniele, especially”I make myself confront it knees knocking and all. It’s always worth it.” That is sooooooo true. Thanks for sharing this with me!

  • Lisa


    I was able to negotiate two pay rises last week and I think it was due to following your work over the last 14 years.

    From doing a deep dive I was able to understand what I’m truly worth and articulate it well in a non aggressive way. I was also willing to walk away if the conditions were not satisfactory. As a result, I was given better conditions than what I initially asked for plus another TV job! ???

    Thanks for everything you do.

  • Julie

    I’m so glad you shared this, Barbara. I want more people to know hard it is to be grieving your parent when you have to go through their possessions, bills, etc., simultaneously l, which only compounds the problems with siblings and legalities.

    Because my mother-in-law saw me go through this, she was motivated to be sure her children didn’t have to do the same. She’s respectful of us and wouldn’t want to make a difficult situation worse. The conversations are tough but everyone will feel better once they’re addressed.
    Thank you for the work you do!

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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