Tips for family money talks

Key Points

  • Communicate openly to increase your family’s financial confidence.
  • Start discussions sooner rather than later and encourage everyone to speak up.
  • Engage your advisor as a neutral third party to help facilitate talks.

Families who set aside their apprehensions to talk about money say they have better relationships and are more financially confident, according to our research.1 You can do that, too, and your advisor can help.

Breaking the ice

“Many of our conversational barriers are self-imposed because kicking off a talk might seem intimidating,” says Marcy Keckler, CRPC®, CFP®, vice president, Financial Advice Strategy at Ameriprise Financial. “If you approach it in the right way, the talk can turn into a positive, constructive experience for everyone involved.”

Your Ameriprise advisor can help break the ice. “A shared advisor can provide your family members with a common, neutral starting point for money discussions,” Marcy says. “Your advisor will take the time to understand the full scope of your family’s goals and needs and provide personalized advice.”

Ready to talk with your family? Use our conversation checklist.


Start discussions sooner rather than later

Talk about family finances before a milestone or tragedy. A graduation or wedding can be a positive time for a discussion. Conversely, nine in 10 adult children say a life-altering event prompted an estate planning talk with their parents.1

Determine goals and priorities
Set an agenda to help keep everyone focused. Be realistic about what you can achieve in each session, and plan for complex topics to take a few meetings.

Keep communication open
Encourage everyone to speak up, be frank, stay open-minded and keep past conflicts out of the talks. Honest financial conversations can help everyone avoid misunderstandings that could ripple through the family.

Talk less, listen more
Your family can boost its chances of a productive conversation when everyone listens actively, seeks to understand and respectfully acknowledges others’ points of view.

Share where important documents are located
Family members should know where to find key elements of their estate plans (e.g., a will, trust, beneficiaries, power of attorney, health care directive) and how to access online accounts (e.g., user IDs and passwords).

Work with your advisor
Your Ameriprise advisor can help guide the conversations, take the time to understand what’s truly important to everyone and provided personalized advice based on your family’s goals and needs.

We can help

Your Ameriprise advisor can help ease the way for money talks across the generations of your family. Contact your advisor and talk with your family about getting started today.