David J. LeVant

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It runs in the family.


Today, many people are financially supporting parents, children, grandchildren or others while trying to secure their own financial future. It seems that discussing financial matters, or not discussing them, is passed down from generation to generation. That’s a key finding of a recent study sponsored by Ameriprise Financial of the baby boom generation, their parents and their children. In fact, these conversations aren’t happening enough. Why are money conversations so important?


Talking about finances with your family can help you identify potential impacts on the progress toward your personal financial goals and create a more holistic plan to reach them. Make the connection.



Only 39% of boomers say they regularly talk about finances with family.


To have meaningful conversations about financial matters, it helps to first define your family and identify their dreams. “Family” is a broad term that may include single parents, blended families, adult children, married or unmarried partners and others. More complex relationships may mean more complex financial needs.


When you talk about financial goals with your family, you can quickly see that everyone’s dreams are connected. Think about your own situation, then you can plan accordingly and avoid surprises.


Who’s part of your family?

(parents, kids, siblings, spouse/partner,

extended family and friends)


What are your family’s dreams?


(college for children and grandchildren, a lake house, parents remaining in their own home, your own retirement)


Do you know?

51% of children of boomers say that discussing money is likely to cause a family argument.*


41% of boomers have used their regular savings to assist a family member. 29% said helping their adult children slowed down their own retirement savings.*



Getting everybody on the same page.

Whether it’s an adult child moving home to save on rent or a parent needing help paying for prescriptions, it’s important to see how the financial situation of each family member affects your own. Get conversations started by asking family about their wishes and goals.


> Talking to kids.

Nowhere is the adage “teach a man to fish” more relevant than with money and children. It is one thing to be there financially with a down payment on a house or college tuition. It’s another thing to jeopardize your own goals.


> Talking to parents.

You may hope to help your parents pay for health care or other costs as they age. But have you planned to make it happen? While discussing money and goals can seem too personal, it may become necessary for you to assume responsibility for your parents’ finances one day. Finding a way to speak frankly and openly today can help you plan for tomorrow.


> Talking to your advisor.

Once you have discussed financial matters with family, it’s important to talk to your financial advisor who can help make a comprehensive plan for your family’s future.



37% of boomers say they’ve helped their children by cosigning a loan with them.

Only 28% of their parents said the same.*



Start to TALK.

Successful financial conversations balance your objectives, comfort and knowledge with the perspective of others. That’s a lot to consider. Here’s one way to keep the essentials in mind:


Think ahead. Begin with the understanding that your goal is to realize your life dreams and help your family reach theirs. Think of how you learned important things like taking responsibility for your own finances, saving for retirement or giving to others. Then, think about how you will teach others. Consider having important or sensitive conversations while doing something together — such as driving, walking or working on a project.


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