It’s time to talk: How to have a conversation about money with your family

Conversations about money are rarely easy or straightforward, particularly when your family is involved. As such, it’s not unusual to feel reluctant or nervous if you’re considering a conversation with your family about money.

| 4 min read

From our experiences of working with families, we’ve put together six ideas to help you get the conversation flowing:

Mention a friend

Katie Tasker, one of our investment managers, suggests making it less personal by showing that everyone else is talking about it. “So you could say that your friends were discussing wills and inheritance tax with their parents, and it reminded you to ask your family. That can be an effective way to start a conversation.”

Take your opportunity

Something significant happening in your family’s life can be a useful conversation starter. “If one of your children is going to university, a chat about budgeting can help them start thinking about the future,” says Tsitsi Mutiti, one of our investment managers. “That’s a good way to move the conversation to the next generation.”

Think about later life

As people get older, conversations about their finances become even more important. Julie Crombie, one of our financial planners, suggests that tying the discussions to things you want to do in later life can make it less awkward. “Everyone has views on what they want to do when they get older, such as whether they want to stay in their home or downsize,” she says. “This issue can be neutral ground and a step to talking about money.”

Be open and honest

To encourage other members of your family to open up, talk honestly about your own views, strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money. This approach might mean allowing yourself to be vulnerable and admitting something you struggle with, such as budgeting or checking your bank statements regularly.

Address the basics

There’s no time like the present to make sure you have all your paperwork in order and tell your family how to find information and contact your financial advisers. A lasting power of attorney is important for people of all ages and levels of wealth, and can be a practical way to start a conversation. Make sure you have a will that includes all your family and assets and review the contents every couple of years so that it’s up to date and reflects any changes. Although often difficult to talk about, it’s important to discuss what you’d like to happen after you die with your family to avoid any of your decisions causing a problem.

Seek support if you need it

If there’s an issue you just can’t seem to move past, consider speaking to someone who can offer an objective opinion, such as a professional financial adviser. Simon Davis, our director of financial planning, says: “I often encourage adult sons or daughters to attend meetings and use me as their adviser to get a handle on a situation if needed.”

How families prepare for meetings can vary. “If you are a very business-like family you could set up an agenda in advance, but for some families that could feel restrictive – it depends. I would usually start a meeting with a summary of your overall position: what everyone’s wishes and goals might be, causes and charities close to you, and so on. So this might be a good thing to think about in advance.”

For further guidance on having meaningful conversations about money with your family, visit Charles Stanley conversations to read our free guide which has some tips about how to talk to your family about money and what you should talk about.

A great time to have your money conversation could be during Talk Money Week, 9 - 13 November 2020. The goal of Talk Money Week is to turn talking about money from one of the UK's least favourite topics of conversation into something that becomes as natural and familiar as talking about the weather.

Nothing on this website should be construed as personal advice based on your circumstances. No news or research item is a personal recommendation to deal.

It’s time to talk: How to have a conversation about money with your family

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