How to Talk with Family About Money
We all know that when it comes to caregiving, money plays a big part. As awkward as it can feel to talk about money, it's very important to get on the same page with your loved ones. Here are some of our tips:
Before the meeting:
1) Diagnose the problem
- What are you actually concerned about and wanting to discuss?
- Look to the core elements of their financial life (debt, assets, spending, income) to understand where your concerns are coming from.
- Try to understand your concerns as specifically as possible so that they don't get intertwined with other conflicts or issues.
2) Get clear on what YOU need from this situation
- Understand your goals before initiating the conversation.
- What is your ideal outcome?
- What resolution will you be happy with?
- Are you interested in taking on additional labor to achieve your ideal outcome? (i.e. helping them take the desired action)
3) Plan the meeting
- Let them know in advance that you want to talk about finances.
- Schedule the meeting for a time of day/week that will work best for both of you.
- Does anybody else need to be involved in the conversation?
- Prepare an agenda (can be informal and just for your own reference!)
During the Meeting
1) Be compassionate
- Acknowledge that this conversation is difficult to have but that you appreciate their willingness.
- Share details of your own financial wins, struggles, and goals if you feel comfortable.
2) Stay on point
- Briefly share the agenda (what you want to talk about today).
- Ask them direct, open-ended questions, and allow them to answer without interruption.
- Gain as much clarity as you can about their finances/the topic of conversation.
3) Decide on a game plan then and there, instead of leaving the conversation open ended
4) When you're finished, "close" the meeting, move to another room, and change activities/conversation topics
After the Meeting
1) Put a recap of the discussion and decision in writing (text/email it to them and any other relevant people)
2)Take action on the agreed changes ASAP -- don't let too much time pass, or people might change their minds
3) Remember that this won't be the last meeting you'll ever need! And that's okay.