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Talking to Your Adult Children About Your Finances - Part 3

Blog Financial Planning

(This is Part 3 in a 3-part series of Talking with Your Adult Children about Your Finances. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.)

Discussing money with family members doesn’t come naturally to most people. In fact, you may be tempted to skip these talks altogether and hope for the best. The following ideas and tips should give you more confidence in starting these critical conversations:

Prepare in advance:

  • What do you hope to accomplish in these discussions? 
    • If your intended outcomes are clear, you can plan effectively and deliver the right messages.
  • How much will you share? 
    • As mentioned in Part 2, consider starting with general information such as a summary of your current situation or the location of key financial documents. If you decide it’s appropriate, you can provide more detail in subsequent conversations – for example, the value of investment accounts or details in your will.  
  • Avoid surprises. 
    • Be sure to let your children know ahead of time that you’d like to speak with them about money matters. Perhaps you invite them to think of any questions or concerns they have and submit them to you ahead of time so you can be prepared to address them thoughtfully.  

Discuss expectations:

  • What do you expect of your children after you’re gone or if your health declines and you need assistance managing your affairs? Do your children have expectations that should be discussed? Communication is key to avoiding mismatched expectations for both parents and children.

Be sure everyone is present:

  • There is potential for misunderstanding or disagreement if you speak to children separately. Having everyone in the same room ensures they receive the same message.

Consider involving a third party:

  • Your financial advisor or other trusted professional can help you get the ball rolling by organizing a meeting and even facilitating the discussion. For some families, the involvement of a neutral party may be unnecessary. For others, it may help to diffuse potential tension or simply avoid procrastination.

If the idea of starting this conversation seems overwhelming, you are not alone. With over 60 years of experience as financial advisors, we have helped many families just like yours with this process. If you need some help, contact us to schedule a time to speak further about your specific situation.  

Photo: Copyright 2018 RSW Publishing. All rights reserved. Distributed by Financial Media Exchange.