How do you talk to your family about your wealth in the most productive way?
Families use many different methods to communicate their hopes and plans surrounding money, and some work better than others. What usually doesn’t work is lifelong lecturing forced upon younger family members.
Rather than parents having “one-off” conversations with children separately, many families are benefiting from having organized, prioritized group discussions around the topic of family wealth. Gathering everyone in the same room, perhaps at a family retreat with a trained third-party expert, can strengthen the bonds among members as they share the learning experience doing something productive and enjoyable together.
Do you have a vision for the future of your wealth, and have you shared it with your family?
Before you share your own vision, it’s important to discover and support the unique dynamics of each member of your family and what dimensions of life are most important to them. This may create a more informed environment for you to open up the discussion about what you envision for your legacy. From there, you can collaborate to develop a family vision and mission that reflects all family members’ views, not just your own. Family retreats again can be a great way to foster these conversations.
How do you broach difficult subjects without alienating family members?
Conversations that feel the most difficult are often the most important to have. For example, if you decide to place written restrictions on when and how an inheritance can be used, it’s critical to have meaningful conversations about your desires and your inheritor’s future plans. Otherwise, those written constraints, without context, can erode trust within a family and destroy an inheritor’s self-esteem. Families using trusts for multigenerational wealth transfer may want to consider partnering with their advisors to provide some level of communication for beneficiaries about how their inheritance is organized—so they are not blindsided later and can ask important questions now.