Back when I was a kid, the idea of money—lots and lots of the green stuff growing on trees—was all upside. It was a simple formula, really. If you had it, you were happy, and if you didn’t, well, life was harder.
When I grew up and started working as a lawyer, that’s when reality hit. I was horrified by just how quickly families could rip themselves apart over money. Almost out of nowhere, siblings were battling over their parents’ assets because when they were growing up, the idea of having a conversation about estate planning—what happens to your lot in your future—just never came up.
It’s easy to see why. Back then, money was the five letter word nobody discussed. If you did, you were impolite, tacky or nosy. And so, when estates were distributed, everyone was shocked. But clearly times have a-changed. According to a recent TD survey, nowadays, 65 per cent of Canadians don’t think money is a topic that is socially awkward, or one to avoid discussing—and I for one am glad to hear it.
In fact, now that I’m 50 (sssshhhhh), I’m all for talking money, especially if it’s in the context of how to make more of it and how to learn to make that booty grow so I can spend it, invest it, and share it.
My parents are freer about talking money, too. They’ve got four kids and as squirmy as the topic may have once been, they’ve made it clear that estate planning is just another fact of family life. The last thing they want is for their kids to start a war over their assets. And who can blame them?
Let’s get real, family ties are too precious to risk over money. So take the first step—open, honest conversation—and start planning what to do with yours.
Women Talk: Estate Planning Stats You Should Know
Talking about money and where it will go makes great financial sense, especially for women, who are typically less involved in financial matters. Check out some more stats and what they mean for families and estate planning.
Did you know?
- Three-quarters (73 per cent) of parents are comfortable talking about money with their children, and two-thirds of children (66 per cent) are comfortable having financial discussions with their parents. Applause. Families should feel close enough to be open and frank about money.
- Despite how sensitive these conversations may be, parents are comfortable sharing their estate plans (61 per cent) and inheritance plans (60 per cent) with their adult children. More applause. If you hide these plans, they will just end up wreaking more havoc.
- With children of baby boomers set to inherit more wealth than ever before, the “money conversation” is one worth having. You bet it is. Talk now will save heartache later.
- More men than women are comfortable talking about money. That needs to change. What are we afraid of?
- Money talk is especially important for Canadian women as they now control approximately one-third of household wealth. Did you hear that? GO US!
How to Talk to Adult Kids About Estate Planning
Need a roadmap for discussing estate plans with your adult kids? TD offers some great advice for families who are ready to have “that money conversation”.
Here’s what you should do:
- Start with yourself: Before having the conversation with your children, work with a financial advisor to map out your current assets and how you plan to distribute them.
- Broach the topic: There is no rule about when or how to share your estate plans with your adult children, but starting the conversation earlier is better.
- Be honest and straightforward: Explain the reasons for each of your decisions. By being upfront with your wants and desires, you leave little room for confusion or misinterpretation, and you can ensure your financial legacy is secure.
- Listen to what they have to say: Don’t feel you have to rush out and change your plans after hearing your children’s feedback. But do give thought to what they say.
The fact is, the time will come when you’re not here to mediate any issues that may arise. The fact is, the more open you are about your plans now, the happier everyone will be later. So don’t hold back. The time to talk is now.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by TD. All opinions are my own.