WTOP Interview: Family Money Talks To Have in 2018 & 5 Tips To Make Them Successful

Interview Transcript:

Hillary Howard: We are now officially in the resolutions season and a good one to consider for 2018 is to have money conversations with those who share your wealth but, what if the thought of talking about money makes you a little uneasy?

Shawn Anderson: Well let’s go now to Dawn Doebler, co-founder of Her Wealth for our weekly segment that she writes about on wtop.com, welcome back and Happy New Year.

Dawn Doebler: Yes, you too Shawn.

Shawn: So why should we include family money talks in our New Year’s resolutions?

Dawn:  Well my talks really can lead to healthier relationships and greater financial wellbeing and we suggest starting with a manageable target of at least three money conversations for the year of 2018. Many studies show and Fidelity actually conducted one that nearly half of couples polled say they have no idea how much they need to save for retirement and we actually see similar patterns when it comes to planning for long term care. So the article suggests these three conversations and then gives 5 tips to how to be successful in those conversations.

Hillary: Well can you share some of the tips to have, some more constructive money talks?

Dawn: Well the first talk we suggest is of course with your partner, many people actually manage their investments on their own into middle age and by that time retirement is quickly approaching and certainly a big money concern is the mounting cost of healthcare. We suggest here that you talk to your partner about your vision for retirement and how you might want to address end of life healthcare decisions and think about your own wishes independently and then schedule time to have the conversation together.

Second talk is with your parents, often times we’re called to determine what their readiness might be for healthcare and I will tell you that too many people are having these conversations in the middle of a crisis and that’s really where your options are limited and then your emotions are running really high.

And the third conversation is with your children, I’m a parent, I want to be the one who’s dictating my kids’ values about money, so some ideas here are to be very practical and have conversations about budgeting, managing and talk to them about investments to get them started early, there really isn’t much education about money for our children, so that’s an important one to be having really all along the way.

Shawn: Now these are all great topics to talk about, but what about the conversation itself, how do you have a more constructive conversation?

Dawn: Right will certainly a difficult one to have is with your parents and many parents are reluctant to share details. One thing to consider is how you can open that conversation in a comfortable way and if there are unwilling to share specific information, say, can you just give me a general idea of what you’ve already set up and if a crisis happens who I might talk to in the case of a crisis? Certainly finding common ground and really planning ahead, think a little bit about what they might be thinking about, what their perspective might be, whether it’s your partner or your children or your parents and try to structure the conversation around that. What we find is that the more often you have the conversations the more comfortable they become, the easier they become and again, then you’re planning ahead and you’re not trying to make decisions in a crisis.

Hillary: Alright thanks so much Dawn. It’s Dawn Doebler, co-founder of Her Wealth, for more go to wtop.com and search Her wealth.