Family reunions have such a reputation for bringing out the weird idiosyncrasies in your family that most people probably associate the word reunion with quirky. Or possibly dysfunctional. But there is one tradition you should start with your family that doesn’t have to be quirky and certainly isn’t dysfunctional (OK, it can be quirky if you want it to be), and that is family wealth planning conversations.
At their best, family wealth planning conversations engage every family member. Each person contributes his/her talents and interests toward achieving your collective and personal lifetime goals.
Here are three ways to effectively integrate family wealth planning conversations into your family:
- Designate a spokesperson.
Not everyone has to participate equally. As we work with families, one individual often emerges as the spokesperson or steward for the group. That’s fine … if the role is based on a mutual and deliberately planned arrangement. If it is instead based on unspoken assumptions or force of habit, your family wealth planning may benefit from a fresh conversation.
Even if your family is in full agreement on who is best suited to champion its interests, there’s always life’s many “what ifs.” Are others in your family adequately prepared to assume the stewardship role when and if it is required of them? Might they have unexpressed questions or concerns that are best addressed well before that day may arrive? Carving out time to hold candid conversations is where it all begins.
- Identify key areas you’d like to explore.
If you agree to a family wealth planning conversation, arrange a time that works for all of you. Meet with your financial advisor in person. Otherwise, arrange a time to chat on Skype or whatever technological device is most convenient.
This is where you share the key areas you’d like to explore. Consider the following:
How would each of you define your roles in family wealth planning? Are each of you satisfied with your current roles? Do all family members have the essential information should they need to increase their participation? Are there other questions, suggestions or family wealth dynamics you’d like to explore, either immediately or over time?
Think outside the box on this! Not only can this strengthen your financial conversations, it could strengthen your family dynamics as well.
- Make sure it’s a recurring conversation.
As tradition suggests, we also hope you’ll consider this the first in a recurring conversation — with or without our participation, as you prefer. Regardless of who may be “in charge” of your family wealth, your family is equally as dependent on the outcome of the efforts.
Families may have quirky voices, but each of those voices should be heard. At McLean Asset Management, we can arrange for your family to talk about wealth. Contact McLean today.
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