GREENSBORO, N.C. — When you're a kid you go to the bank of Mom or Dad. The money flows from them to you, for movies, gas, food, whatever. But when you both get older you may have to pay for them. Nearly a third of people with parents 65 and over say they've helped their parents pay for things in the past year. But many of them don't actually prepare for it. 

If you're looking to help out your parents, pay down your debt first. You can only do so much if you're dealing with your own money problems. Also, establish an emergency fund for situations like this. Finally, don't forget to maximize your own retirement. 

When it comes time to talk with your parents, try not to be judgemental. Make it a habit to discuss family finances openly. And consider how a money move may affect future generations (your kids or grandkids.)

And if necessary, a third party can help keep conversations on track. So consider bringing a trusted friend or an attorney into your money conversations. 

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