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How To Start Wealth Conversations With Your Family

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at October 1, 2021

Money is a sensitive topic to discuss with your family. It can cause tension, and sometimes it can be uncomfortable, which is why it’s often avoided. But it doesn’t have to be a taboo subject. There’s a risk in not openly discussing the topic in your household.

COMMUNICATION PREVENTS RISKS

Families encounter issues when communication falls apart. When families aren’t on the same page, feelings get hurt. When there’s little transparency or education, suspicion fills the void. It’s only natural. Even worse, those hurt feelings and doubt can lead to risky decision-making, which can ultimately damage wealth. Below are three approaches to start the conversation in a way that is subtle and engaging: 

1. Share your story– the conversation can begin by sharing the story of how the wealth was created. This is particularly important to share with your children. It adds real value and meaning to the dollar amounts. Thinking about sharing your legacy can often bring up feelings and behaviors of avoidance in order to sidestep any uncomfortable feelings or situations that stem from a perceived lack of control. But that’s just it!

As long as we are living, we still have control over what we want our narrative to be. What we want our lasting memory to be, what we want to pass on to future generations so that they never lose sight of how they got where they are and who the people were that got them there—we control these. 

2. Involve your partner and children – if you have younger children, financial literacy is a great starting point. Start by teaching them the value of a dollar and the difference between a stock and a bond. If you have older children, you can start teaching how to build a budget. If you’re not ready to share dollar amounts, you don’t have to, but it’s important for your children to understand the reasoning behind your decisions.  

3. Create new traditions – you’ve built traditions over the years with your family, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, etc. Perhaps it’s time to start a new tradition. Gather with your family once a year and have an open and honest conversation. Allow your children to ask questions and ask them questions too. Maybe their plans are different from yours and this is the perfect opportunity to share best practices. Perhaps you schedule a series of dinners during which you discuss a significant part of your history with your loved ones. That would create an opportunity for engagement while reserving a space to build new memories and establish a storytelling tradition—much like our ancestors did.

Talk openly with your family about your estate plans, what your various assets mean to you, what they are worth, and how you would like them handled after you’re gone. Only then can you be sure that you have covered all your bases when it comes to leaving an impactful legacy.

We emphasize the importance of working with a comprehensive wealth advisor who is aware of your multigenerational dynamics and can help you stay on top of your plan and review it as well. Such an advisor will also stay abreast of the conversations you need to have and the decisions you need to make.

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