I'm not trying to bring everyone down, but rather to suggest that perhaps your best Mother's Day gift this year might be to initiate a frank discussion with your mom about her personal finances and how she can better prepare for the future
Although there are certain actions you must take right away to ensure your current financial security, several major decisions with long-term consequences should probably be postponed until you've had a chance to reflect on how -- and where -- you want to spend the rest of your life.
The first Baby Boomers begin turning 65 in 2011, which means they'll soon be tapping Social Security. If you haven't yet investigated how this program works, this may be a good time to learn the ropes.
If Social Security were a private company, its shareholders would be very pleased, as it ran a surplus of $180 billion last year and accumulated a reserve of $2.4 trillion. This is the only government program to run a surplus.