We are lucky to have had the opportunity to work closely with psychotherapist, financial therapist, and wealth counselor, Marilyn Wechter, for nearly 7 years on issues related to our clients’ families and their wealth. She has quickly become one of the most valuable resources in our network of outside advisors. We are constantly in awe of her ability to turn the discomfort of challenging situations into a healthy and welcome dialogue. Marilyn proposes that open conversations among parents and children about money are essential to fostering the appropriate relationship with future inheritance.
Keep in mind these key points when approaching family conversations about money:
-In money conversations, disagreement is not the problem. Rather, disengagement is the problem. This means that there are no taboo subjects.
-Approaching issues with soft knees is essential. Just like buildings that sway in response to wind and earthquakes, we become far less brittle when we approach issues without rigidity.
Marilyn offers these questions as a template to get started:
- What is your personal history with money?
- What were the messages that you got about it: From your mother? From your father? From your grandparents? From your culture?
- Did you witness conflict in your family of origin over financial issues?
- Was money ever spoken about?
- What role does money play in your life now?
- Can you spend without conflict, or shame, or guilt?
- Do you use money to address some other feeling or need?
- Do you use money to control or exert power over others: your children or your partners or your friends?
- Are you fearful about having enough?
- How does money create joy or anxiety for you?