Many baby boomers have grown up with the mindset that money is not something that is discussed, even with their adult children. Those that fall in this camp tend to keep the value of their estates close to the vest, and it isn’t until their passing, that their children learn the extent of their holdings and assets. I am here to encourage you to start having the money conversation. Now, you know your family best. Some relatives are likely very responsible adults. Others might be the type to take advantage if they knew the true extent of your wealth. So, how much information you choose to divulge is at your discretion; but start talking.
A great way to begin the conversation is to discuss your views on money and how your values played a role in you getting to where you are today. If you scrimped and saved a little at a time, you likely saw the power of compound interest over the years. Or maybe you are charitably minded, and routinely give back to your church or charity of choice. It’s these lessons that you can pass on to the next generation that will leave an imprint on them.
Another way to introduce the money conversation is to share your estate plan details. Explain where your estate plan and other important documents are located and share who is to hold which leadership roles. You might also share your intentions. There may be liabilities or business assets that need to be settled. Getting all this out in the open will help everyone involved better understand your thoughts and goals.
Another part of the discussion might be what protection plans are in place. You may have a long-term care policy to help pay for your care at the end of life. Or, there may be life insurance policies to pay off debts and liabilities. Maybe you have annuities that will provide an income source for you for the remainder of your life. These things not only give you peace of mind, but your family as well, once you share the information with them.
All of these conversations can be done without mentioning any dollar values. But, hopefully as you begin to include your family in the money conversation, you will become comfortable with sharing the details of your assets and liabilities to get everyone on the same page. You can provide a great deal of relief and clarity to your adult children if you are willing to share your financial plan.