Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to discuss financial thoughts and concerns with family. These can potentially be emotional and stressful conversations. However, they are important conversations to have; not only to express that we care, but also that we are planning ahead out of concern for the future well being of our loved ones. Here are five important conversations to have with family about money.
Discuss financial (and life) goals with your partner.
Start by writing down goals separately. Agree to support each others goals. Prioritize goals and put a dollar amount and timeline associated with each one. This will help you balance multiple goals as well as make adjustments. Don’t limit yourself strictly to “financial” goals. Even if a goal has a dollar amount of zero keep it on your list.
Define day-to-day money rolls with in a relationship.
In order to accomplish your goals as a couple it is helpful to have some day to day strategies or parameters in place to manage your money together. This can include things like who pays what bill when as well as coordinating annual tasks, such as, checking credit scores and filing taxes. It can also be helpful to agree to consult one another for spending more than a certain dollar amount on any one-item or at any one-time.
Talk to your parents about their estate planning.
This can be an extremely sensitive subject. Family members don’t want to feel like you’re after their money or contemplate their own demise. This subject can put parents on the defensive. Forbes offers these tips to help you ease into the conversation. Share the estate planning you’ve done too. I wrote a post titled Estate Planning Basics which outlines some of the documents you might put in place.
Discuss a care strategy with aging parents.
Just like the conversation about estate planning this can also be a sensitive topic and often times these topics will overlap. Care needs might include things ranging from additional help with housework to long-term care insurance. AARP provides scripts and tips for having this discussion. This conversation will likely be ongoing and might require persistence and patience.
Include your kids.
Kids are constantly learning about money whether or not lessons are explicit. I love this tid-bit by Sheryl Garrett who recommends including children in the financial conversation from an early age. That way children have, “experience and an understanding before they have the responsibility to manage their money for themselves.”
As I mentioned above, these conversations can be challenging. It’s helpful to make them an ongoing dialogue instead of feeling pressure to make it all happen at once. Try to plan time together afterwards so that you can enjoy a different activity and keep your relationships strong. Be sure to communicate with loved ones in order to SaveUp!
This post was written by SaveUp’s personal finance contributing writer, Catherine Hawley, CFP®.