4 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationships with Family and Investing


Holiday dinner at my aunt's house in Oregon is a family tradition. We gather as an extended family at her enormous dining room table and talk almost always turns to the biggest things happening to us as a family. Weddings, funerals, illnesses, college graduations and the occasional scandal dominate the dialogue. Underpinning most of these discussions is money, whether spoken about or not."How is James going to pay for college?" and, "Who is going to take care of Uncle Wade's finances?" The holidays are often when much of our money and family dynamics are placed into sharp relief. Family influence It should be no surprise that our feelings about finances center on family because our relationship with money starts and ends with those closest to us, the 2015 BlackRock Global Investor Pulse survey has found. For example, just 24% of Americans said their parents "taught me everything I needed to know" about money and investing, while 25% said their parents' actions "taught me more about what not to do."

And although 75% of pre-retirees expect that their family will be cared for if anything should happen to them in retirement, nearly a quarter of them said saving for retirement is difficult because they're paying for their children's college or financially taking care of relatives. If you are one of the majority of us for whom family and money discussions sit at opposite ends of the table, consider the holidays as an opportunity to reflect on how to bring the two closer together. Here are four ways to improve your relationships with both family and finances at the same time:

  1. Teach your children about investing - Only 11% of Americans said their parents taught them to contribute the maximum to a 401(k) or IRA, and the level of other types of investment education drops down from there. You can start teaching your children about investing by involving them in their college savings account, or even your own investment accounts. By including them in financial discussions, you serve as a positive role model that will influence their future relationship with money.
  2. Include loved ones in your financial planning - Just 15% involve their partner in all financial decisions. It's critical that couples who intend to retire together plan together, and that should include discussions on what will happen when one partner passes away. And remember, your retirement preparedness can also affect your children and maybe other relatives. So include anyone who depends on you, or you may depend on, in your plans.
  3. Ask trusted family members for advice - Feel free to talk to the people who care about you most about financial matters. And that doesn't mean just finding out hot stock tips. It can simply be recommendations for an advisor or financial information. Learning from their successes and mistakes can help you put the proper perspective on what to do.
  4. Check in with older parents about their finances - If you're poised to care for aging parents, talk to them about their finances and what their plans are if they should need medical care. Discussing it casually now will be easier than when it becomes an urgent necessity, and it could help you avoid an unexpected financial burden.
Heather Pelant is Head of BlackRock Personal Investing for BlackRock. She is a regular contributor to The Blog

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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