They say that politics and religion are the two topics you aren’t supposed to broach in polite company, including at family gatherings—but finance is surely not far behind. Talking about money can often make people feel anxious or uncomfortable, and that tension is not diminished when the people in question are related to one another. However, parents of older/grown children have an obligation to speak with their kids about the financial future—about retirement planning and estate planning, in particular. This ensures that those grown children are able to assist the parents or to execute their wishes as needed.
How can you ensure that your financial planning conversations go smoothly? Consider a few of the following suggestions.
Plan on having more than one conversation
Hopefully, your personal finances are ever-evolving, or at least, they’re being frequently reflected on and revised. You’ll need to keep your closest loved ones in the loop, which means having multiple conversations. It may also be advantageous to gently ask if you can have a candid conversation about money, at a later date—rather than springing financial planning talk on your family members out of the blue.
Time is right
When you talk to your family about money matters, and if possible, it’s best to choose a time that is not already stressful or uncomfortable. The holidays may seem like a convenient time, if you’re all gathered together, but if people are already tense, you might consider trying for a different time, if possible.
Conversation and criticism are not the same thing
You may not always like or approve of the way your family members have handled their money. You may have kids who have managed their finances irresponsibly, for example. Discussing your family’s financial future should be a constructive thing, though—not an attack or an excuse to criticize and complain.
Discuss important paperwork
Do your family members know where you keep your will? What about your life insurance documents? Do family members know where they can find information for accessing your bank accounts? Make sure to discuss these documents in your financial planning talk.
Focus your conversation
Personal finance is a big topic, and you may not want to try to hit on everything in one conversation. Instead, you might focus on the really important things: Estate and retirement planning, in particular, but also any trusts or legacy investments you have.
To learn more about the kinds of financial planning issues you should be discussing with your family, we invite you to contact us today.