It may not come with balloons and a cake, but taking a multigenerational approach to financial planning and wealth management is important for securing your legacy, passing on what you’ve built, and preparing each generation of your family for the future. For many families, though, this isn’t the easiest topic to talk about. It means discussing things like money, insurance, wills, future goals, and contingency plans – tough subjects for many of us.
But ultimately, multigenerational planning is a valuable undertaking for you and your family. It helps to ensure that the family’s money, assets, and legacies are thoughtfully planned, managed, and prepared for the future. It also provides an opportunity to review and take into account each group’s financial goals and needs.
Having such discussions can also set up future generations for success – lessons in financial literacy, budgeting, saving, and planning for education (and beyond) are invaluable legacies to pass on to your children and grandchildren. At the other end of the generational spectrum, being prepared can be an enormous help if or when the time comes to look after the care and well-being of older family members – retirement, estate planning, health care, or assisted living needs, to list a few.
A bit of planning and some important conservations around finances can go a long way to help you and your family be ready for the long run.
Communication is the key
In every relationship, communication is vital for working together, setting and reaching goals, and building for the future. When it comes to families and money, though, it can sometimes be challenging. There may be resistance for a variety of reasons. But a mature, clear, and honest discussion about family finances is important for planning and future success. If you are having difficulties, or don’t know where to start, your financial advisor can offer some suggestions on addressing the challenges and creating meaningful discussions.
Talk to your parents
Whether they’re still in their working years or well into retirement, having an in-depth conversation with your parents is essential. Are they well setup for a long and productive retirement? Canadians are living longer than ever before, so securing retirement income that may need to last into one’s 90s is a huge consideration.
If they are financially secure and have assets and savings, find out if they have a will and an estate plan. You should also know where these are kept, how they can be accessed when the time comes, and who they have designated to execute their wishes. In some circumstances, it may even be more beneficial from a tax perspective to gift bequeaths before passing. Your financial advisor can help find answers to those questions.
Another topic to discuss involves your parents’ plans around future health care. As we age, we slow down, and health issues can become more prevalent thus putting strains on our ability to care for ourselves and our families.
We all want to live healthy, independent lives for as long as possible, but it’s also wise to have a plan in place should that become increasingly difficult to realize. There are many options to explore ranging from a full-service care facility to occasional in-home help that doesn’t require having to leave home. Have an open discussion with your family about these matters as part of your long-term planning.
Talk to your children
While young children are more likely to be interested in building blocks than building a financial plan, teaching your children the value of money from even an early age will go a long way to helping them build their financial literacy and stay clear of many financial pitfalls. There are many young adults who have learned hard lessons about credit card debt or overburdening themselves with student loans.
BlueShore Financial has an engaging program that can help you get started with teaching young children about money and finances. The Wishbank program was created to help you support your child’s learning by reinforcing the ideas of spending, saving, and sharing money.
If you have older children who are just starting out on their own or about to go that way soon, they are going to be facing a number of firsts in the years ahead. This can include first jobs, first apartments, first year in post-secondary education, as well as financial firsts such as credit cards, savings and investment plans, and mortgages.
Have a frank discussion with them about financial responsibility – from budgeting basics to getting an early start on retirement savings. It’s never too early to start and even a small amount of savings per month can compound over time into a substantial nest egg. Introduce them to your financial advisor to get started with a registered savings program.
With adult children, the conversations around finances will likely be more sophisticated. Particularly if you are considering helping them with a down payment on a new home. The reality is that BC’s expensive real estate market is a huge challenge for new buyers and many have sought help from family members through some sort of arrangement – from a loan, to sharing ownership, to a financial gift. Talk to your children and your advisor about options and solutions.
Looking for a quick and easy list to help you and your family get started on making important financial decisions that have life-long impacts? Download our financial planning checklist for every stage of life.
Talk to your advisor
Every family is unique and so too are their financial circumstances and planning requirements. For some families, plans can be straightforward. And for others, they can be very complex – especially if there are many members, multiple generations, and matters such as a business, family-held property, divorces, or other dynamics in play.
When creating a multigenerational financial plan for your family, look to seek solutions and agreements, find ways to navigate the communication challenges, have the difficult discussions, and ask for professional guidance.
A financial advisor can help you and your family sort out a plan that works for your needs. They can also identify and connect you to additional resources such as insurance, tax planning, legal, and estate planning services.
And finally, get informed. Use our financial planning checklist to start on the basics, seek out information in our online Advice Hub, and reach out and introduce your family to your advisor to get a deeper understanding of your needs and build a plan customized for your family and their futures.