Values are the glue that holds your family together. It’s important to share, document, and celebrate those values so that when the time comes, your family will continue living out the legacy you established. Those values may include how you handle your finances as a family, so it can be important to be open when discussing money with the people you love. Talking about financial planning can sometimes make people feel uncomfortable, but meeting with your spouse, children, or grandchildren to discuss financial decisions can better prepare your family for the future.
If you’re ready to have a family meeting, consider these tips to help you start the conversation.
Identify the main topic
Don’t try to cover every financial topic at once. Instead, you can focus on one issue that’s important or recent. Sticking to one topic can help keep the conversation focused, and prevent family members from feeling overwhelmed.
For the initial meeting, you may want to keep the discussion small. Who you invite depends on the sensitivity of the topic, as well as factors such as family structure and distance. It’s a good idea to only involve the key people in the first meeting. You can always expand the circle in subsequent meetings. If you aren’t sure who to involve, consider asking for input from your financial professional.
When you have financial discussions with your family, the goal should be to make some kind of agreement or promise on the topic presented. Achieving this could take several meetings, so it’s important to be patient.
You could ask your family what they think would be beneficial to cover in the meeting and then write down those points. The finished agenda then can be shared with your loved ones in advance.
To help ease tensions before the meeting, you may want to plan a dinner to help “break the ice.”
Before the meeting, you may want to get some advice from a financial professional and discuss the family meeting goals.
Timing your meeting is important. You may want to avoid having financial conversations during big events, such as holidays, as they can be stressful. Instead, you could choose a moment when everyone is in a good place in their lives. Pick a date that works for all your desired attendees and a neutral, comfortable location.
Talking about finances can feel strange, so it can be important to do it in a way that’s pleasant and agreeable for all involved. When you meet with your family, it’s important to lead the conversation in an open, honest, and focused way.
Talking about money, especially when the conversation is focused on estate planning or end-of-life decisions, can stir up a lot of emotions in people. Here are some suggestions to help keep emotions manageable during your family finance discussions:
When your family meeting concludes, it’s important to help ensure the discussion continues and your loved ones stay informed. Here are some ideas you could do after your meeting:
A financial professional can offer support and guidance from the beginning to the end of your family finance discussions. They can also help you navigate the unique challenges that may arise before and during your meeting. You may also want to introduce family members to your financial professional to help create an enhanced level of trust, better communication, and a greater understanding of your plans.
The term financial professional is not intended to imply engagement in an advisory business in which compensation is not related to sales. Financial professionals that are insurance licensed will be paid a commission on the sale of an insurance product.