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Talking About Difficult Topics with Family Members

Bigstock-Financial-consultant-presents--14508974Taboo topics have changed over the decades, but families still have a hard time talking about money and death. Here are some ways to get the conversation started.

There’s a big difference between saying you’re okay talking about money and actually doing it. According to The TIAA 2017 Family Money Matters Survey, nearly three-quarters of the parents and just under 90% of adult children liked the concept of talking about finances, but the number who actually had those conversations were extremely low: 11% of parents and 37% of adult children.

That kind of a gap shows that that the topic of money is still problematic.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reminded readers in its article, “It's high time families start having money talks,” that the money talk is crucial. For parents, the four major topics are estate planning, shelter, personal finances and health care. Parents need a will (and possibly a trust). All information regarding bank accounts, savings accounts, mutual fund investments and retirement savings plans should be documented and collected. Sharing thoughts about housing is important, and family members need to know about your medical directives.

You should try to keep focused on the major topics, like whether they have a will, their plans to stay in the house or moving, along with the number of bank accounts.

One way to get this conversation going, is to also volunteer your own information.

These financial discussions are important and practical.  However, they could also be even better by exchanging knowledge, experience, and information about money and values.

One example is charitable giving and volunteering. A study from the University of Indiana-Purdue University, found that parents who volunteer are more likely to have children who do the same. They also found that the when children volunteer, their parents are likely to do so also.

Talking about being engaged in charitable giving and volunteering in the community is a good way to start a conversation about family values and philosophies about what is important to individuals and family members. For older adults, it may spark thoughts about creating a legacy will, which is a statement that addresses the values that you’d like to pass along to the next generation. This can also provide an opportunity to discuss the values that children have learned from their parents and grandparents.

Millennials and their aging parents have a different relationship than most boomers had with their parents. Hopefully, that will make the financial conversations easier for both generations.

At Legacy Counsellors, P.C. we are big proponents of having adult children involved in your estate plan.  Clients of Legacy Counsellors, P.C. enjoy the benefit of being able to have family meetings where adult children can learn about their parent's estate plan and how their future will be impacted.  If you would like to meet with an Attorney to discuss creating a unique estate plan, please contact our office today.  

Reference: Minneapolis Star Tribune (April 1, 2017) “It's high time families start having money talks”

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