GENERATIONS & MONEY TALKS
Whatever generation you belong to, whatever stage of your business as a trusted advisor, you are more likely to encounter inter-generational challenges than ever in the past. That’s because external forces and formative influences have resulted in greater differences in how the generations view money, lifestyle, investing, philanthropy and relationships.
Money may not be the root of all evil, but it often leads to the primal “fight or flight” response.
Talks about money are often the hardest discussions among work colleagues, family members, friends and even in instances of our own self-talk. It’s an emotional thing tied up with perceptions of our self-worth or somebody else’s. For some people money is more important as a scorecard than the actual value of what they can do with the money. In families it’s tied to how much one is loved compared with others
So it’s easy to see why money talks are avoided, even before taking such huge steps as marriage, living together and having children. Yet it’s been documented that relationships turn out happier when money conversations do take place before major decisions.
As I work with financial services professionals, I witness the tensions that can occur over money. Advisors often find it difficult to get their clients to talk with family members or business associates about money in order to do estate planning and decide how they would like to donate money philanthropically. And advisor teams may have their own money conflicts when they neglect to discuss in advance their attitudes, expectations, transitioning and exit strategies.
So, yes, money discussions can be volatile, but it’s worse to avoid them. Instead:
* Establish a shared language about money.
* Identify and avoid “trigger words.”
* Understand what key words connote for each party.
* Identify and be aware of your own “trigger words.”
This last point may be the most important for anyone trying to facilitate the discussion, whether among clients or family.
Phyllia Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com