Winter break and the holiday season are approaching and it’s the perfect time to talk about money. Here are a few table conversations you should have this year.
Model good financial behaviors. These gatherings are an opportune time to educate younger members of the family on financial literacy. This may come with an eye roll, however, it is important they learn from older family members about your financial successes and failures. Younger family members are more receptive to advice from family other than their parents and soon they will be in your shoes. Therefore, talking about your holiday budget or college scholarships wouldn’t be a bad thing to discuss.
Student loans and college savings. Have an open dialogue about the finances you have available for this next year as the priority deadline for the FAFSA gets closer (December 1, 2017, for the 2018-2019 academic year). It is important that you are on the same page as your family in what you need for this upcoming year. Expenses and income vary every year and it is important to be transparent about how finances are currently going and how you foresee them in the future. Discuss expectations regarding spending, work, borrowing and other such financial matters.
Tie it to a gift. If gift giving is part of the celebration than find a creative way to teach about money while still giving people joy. This can be done through a piggy bank or a contribution to a college savings plan if they are younger. These gifts can be supplemented with conversations about savings and giving to those in need in your community.
Discuss long-term plans. This doesn’t need to be a morbid conversation. However, estate planning, long term care, and medical preferences are something a family should talk about. As family members grow older there is information we should know and be able to talk about. This could be brought up naturally from a grandmother talking about putting something in her will for you or a joke about putting your family members in a home one day. These prompts could lead into a real conversation about their needs and wants. This is an opportune time to discuss this while all family members are present that will be affected. There are times that this conversation wouldn’t be appropriate, however, it is an important topic to discuss.
You don’t have to solve everything. This chat is not meant to be stressful only helpful. This chat doesn’t need to go past transparency and financial responsibility to start setting expectations for family members. But it is important that you have these multi-generational conversations and to start a habit of having open, ongoing dialogue with your family.
If you’re not sure how to get the conversations started, simply print this post and share it with your family members as a guideline of financial topics you can review together. Don’t forget you can make a free appointment with us anytime from our website at www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial, to discuss any of these financial matters or questions you may have in more detail.
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