From an early age, we’re taught that money is not a “polite” topic of conversation – even within families. Often, there is an emotional overlay to family financial discussions that can add another layer of complication.
That is reflected in the reality that less than 40 percent of North Americans have an up-to-date will or estate plan. This is an increasingly urgent issue given that a major intergenerational wealth transfer will take place over the next 20 years, and its beneficiaries may not be well-prepared to manage it on their own.
As a trusted advisor, here are ARS’ five top tips for you and your family to both become better educated and to break the taboo around discussing money:
- Start saving and investing earlier in life. Your older self will thank you!
- Avoid surprises at all costs. Strive to be more involved in your financial well-being, focused on long-term planning, mindful of short-term gratification and disciplined with your commitment to those plans.
- Begin financial conversations with your family, starting with an initial discussion about shared values, goals and priorities.
- Assemble a team of trusted advisors comprised of an investment advisor, a trust and estate attorney, and an accountant. Remember to regularly review and update important documents (e.g., your wills, beneficiary forms, trusts and estate documents).
- Having a meaningful discussion about money is just the beginning! Plan to keep family members updated and try to gather for a regular review once a year.
In a 2019 survey, we asked respondents about how their life goals aligned with their financial goals. Looking back, what would you tell your younger self about saving and investing? How well are you communicating that insight with your family? What are your priorities going forward? Please click above for a summary of the results and key takeaways.