SOLLA News and Views

10 March 2021

Ask SOLLA: My mother isn’t making the most of her savings


#AskSOLLA is your chance to put your later life financial planning question to an expert – a SOLLA Accredited Financial Adviser.

Talking about our finances and preparing for later life is so important. This week, we’ve been contacted by someone concerned her mother isn’t making the most of her savings. She isn’t sure how to broach the subject because her mother finds talking about money stressful:

“My mother’s in her 90s and is relatively well-off. I’m not worried about her not being able to afford care fees if the time came. However, I know she’s not doing everything she could to make the most of her money. At the same time, she finds talking about it stressful and doesn’t want to look at it. My gut feeling is not to interfere because I don’t want to cause her anxiety. Is this the right call?”

We asked award-winning SOLLA Accredited Financial Adviser Sebastian Elwell of Switchfoot Wealth to offer some words of advice. Seb is a SOLLA Advisory Board Member and last year won Retirement & Later Life Specialist of the Year at the Personal Finance Society Awards.

We all have different attitudes to talking about money and many of us find discussing finances openly and transparently with our loved ones a scary prospect. But your mother’s relatively well-off financial position should be a source of comfort to her, not an anxiety.

However, if she experiences stress over financial conversations it could be a sign that she does need some help, or even that everything is not exactly as it should be. It can be difficult to have open conversations about money but it’s important to talk to her sooner rather than letting any potential issues worsen down the line.

I would encourage you to reassure your mother that you have her best interests at heart and make sure there are no other warning signs of anything being amiss.

The concept of taking a financial health check-up might be a useful way to get the conversation started. This will give both your mother and you a good overview of her current finances, without triggering any specific anxieties that she might have about them. A financial adviser can provide this service and I’d always recommend choosing a SOLLA Accredited Adviser, someone who will be sensitive to your mother’s needs, concerns and attitude to money.

Has your mother created a power of attorney? This is also a good opportunity to discuss the need of having one in place should she need help in the future from those she trusts to deal with her financial affairs and her health and care needs.

The bottom line is it’s important to talk to your mother about her finances, and ideally sooner rather than later, but take a soft approach and be patient. It’s a careful balancing act between reassuring both yourself and your mother that her finances are well looked after without unwittingly taking control away from her.”

If you’ve got a question you’d like to put to a SOLLA Accredited Adviser, please email