Posts in Estate Planning

Talking About Finances: Women Should Initiate

March 7th, 2016 Posted by Estate Planning, Family Finances, Investor Behavior, Marriage and Finances 0 thoughts on “Talking About Finances: Women Should Initiate”

Studies of people’s financial behavior show that initiating important financial discussions is key to achieving and securing financial well-being, especially for women. Whether talking with their spouses or partners, or with their parents or children, women who take the lead in talking about sensitive financial issues are better prepared to deal with the hurdles that may occur on the pathway of life. They are also less afraid of what the future might bring.

Discussions with Spouse or Partner

Surveys reveal that a majority of women are willing to talk with their spouses or partners about issues related to aging, but many do not start the conversation. When it comes to discussing, researching, and selecting financial solutions for dealing with the possibilities of failing health or complications around mortality, less than half of women are “proactive; they are willing to be involved but unlikely to initiate the discussion. Some women, even if they know it would be prudent, will only talk about these subjects if actually pressured to do so.

Discussions with Older Parents

Many women are or will be assisting aging parents. Yet an overwhelming percentage of women have not talked in-depth with their parents about their financial needs and arrangements as they grow older. Many say that they have not done so because their parents are sensitive about financial issues. And some women truly feel that their parents’ financial affairs are” none of their business. Chances are strong, however, that many women will eventually have to deal in some way with their parents’ business matters. The better prepared they are, the easier it will be.

Discussions with Grown Children

Women also seem reluctant to have substantive financial dialogue with their grown children. With regard to their later life needs, a small number of women may have explained provisions for their retirement income or long-term care to their children. A significant number of them, however, have not discussed their will or estate plans with their offspring. Experience demonstrates the wisdom of having these conversations sooner rather than later.

The fact is that money remains a difficult topic within many families. Oftentimes, individuals, and women in particular, will wait for someone else to launch the subject, all the while losing precious time for planning. In view of that, we at OpenCircle stress the importance of women taking the lead in initiating financial conversations with their loved ones. We can help. Give us a call at 203-985-0448.

Family Wealth Planning Conversations

February 22nd, 2016 Posted by Budgeting, College Planning, Estate Planning, Family Finances, Homes and Mortgages, Life Planning, Loans and Debt, Marriage and Finances, Retirement Planning, Saving 0 thoughts on “Family Wealth Planning Conversations”

What Are Family Wealth Planning Conversations (And Why Have Them)?

Whether gathering for annual reunions, sharing childhood memories, or simply being there for one another during difficult times, family traditions nourish our most satisfying relationships. An important tradition that we at OpenCircle foster with our clients focuses on family wealth planning. We facilitate conversations that engage every family member, each of them contributing their talents and interests to achieving their collective and personal lifetime goals.

That does not mean that everyone must 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, a family’s wealth planning may benefit from a fresh conversation.

Even if a 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 the 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.

How We Guide Our Clients in Family Conversations

To launch a family wealth planning conversation with a client, we invite them and their family to meet with us at their convenience. (A face-to-face meeting is optimal, but we can harness technology to hold a meeting online if necessary.) We guide them in exploring key considerations such as:

  • How would each of them define their roles in their family’s wealth planning?
  • Are all of them satisfied with their current roles?
  • Do all family members have the essential information, should they be required to increase their participation? (For example, do they know how to reach us?)
  • Are there other questions, suggestions or family wealth dynamics they would like to explore, either immediately or over time?
  • How can we best assist each of them in these and other areas?

We help families find broader and deeper perspective in this area of their lives. Even though specific family members may never have joined us in prior meetings, we encourage them to be included at this time. They may well discover insights about one another that could strengthen both their financial conversations as well as their overall family dynamics.

Regardless of who may be “in charge” of a family’s wealth, every individual is equally dependent on the outcome of the efforts. Enabling a forum for everyone’s voice to be heard is another way OpenCircle helps our clients achieve their greatest life goals, keeping their family’s wealth fresh and meaningful over time. If you would like more information, please give us a call at 203-985-0448.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Luke Lehrfeld]