Clients typically engage our services to help them craft a plan that explores their life’s possibilities. While having a plan is important, sometimes the little things can have a powerful impact on financial outcomes, as well as the relationships that our loved ones have with their finances.
This week a WSJ reporter asked for our thoughts on the following: “what is one small step people can take to improve their financial relationship with their: spouse, kids and parents.” This is a great question because of its simplicity. Are there relatively innocuous things that you can do that can lead to real breakthroughs down the road?
Here are some thoughts to consider.
Financial Relationship With Spouse – Set aside one hour a month to review family finances. This has the salutary benefit of nipping any potential spending/saving concerns in the bud, AND keeps one of the partners who frequently has little interest in finances in the loop. We don’t want to meet your spouse for the first time at your wake.
Financial Relationship With Kids – In my experience, kids learn by observing and engaging, not by listening to what you tell them. They also are more tech savvy than most parents. One approach is to ask your kids how to navigate your phone apps for banking, brokerage, 401(k), and HR. It will give them an introduction to financial wealth building tools that they will soon be using, and can also foster an appreciation for what you have accomplished.
Financial Relationship With Parents – Cognitive impairment of parents is a concern for many children as their parents age. One of the best ways to measure alertness, memory, and reaction times is to take a drive with a parent. This should not be a scheduled or scripted affair, but a ride based on a casual suggestion. Your level of anxiety during your drive can offer real insights into whether you need to keep closer tabs on a parent’s financial situation.
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