7 min read 19 May 22
Over our lifetimes, the support we offer our family and friends goes far beyond just the financial. But our investments and what they can do for others are an important pillar of that support. So why do we tend to shy away from these conversations?
Our ideas about how to protect and nurture the ones we love will all be as different as we are. The strength of our relationships and their importance to us can often make some of the most important financial conversations we’ll have, the ones we put off for another day. Or we might even avoid them completely.
And it’s no surprise. For many of us they’re conversations we might have towards the later stages of life, brought about by circumstances beyond our control or prompted by the loss of a friend or family member. But why should they be? Why do we feel uncomfortable when we discuss our finances with those closest to us?
Maybe it’s because we’ve always believed such conversations are only one way, about our legacy and what will happen to our estate when we’re gone. But what if we think about these conversations a little differently?
Welcome financial support can come in many forms and at different stages of life. It could be a one-off financial boost, a regular gift or a lasting leg-up. It could be a means of offering peace of mind to one generation by providing financial security for the next. It could even take a more philanthropic form, using your assets to help support the causes closest to your heart. The reality is that these are powerful, personal and positive choices, to be considered at any stage of our lives. But few of us might think of them that way.
Having regular conversations about our finances can offer clarity and comfort to those we care about. After all they’re ultimately a means of making ourselves and our loved ones feel secure. But financial conversations needn’t always have to be about legacy. They might be a safeguarding exercise, educating others on the dangers of too much debt or over-spending, or the importance of planning for retirement in time to achieve your savings goals. But could there be more to be gained from making it a regular, two-way conversation?
Importantly, conversations allow the sharing of knowledge, particularly between the generations where there are often different priorities, financial or otherwise, or maybe a lack of experience in long-term wealth management and financial planning. But two-way conversations can offer an alternative view, key pieces of information or helpful insight that you might otherwise miss out on.
Discussing your finances can help you to understand the concerns and even fears of others, enabling you to address any issues that may come to light.
While there’ll always be generations more comfortable talking about money than others, there’s no doubt that as a society we’re embracing the need to be more open with each other, sharing more personal opinions and information than perhaps we’ve done in the past.
The truth is many of us are comfortable sharing glimpses into our lives on social media, or willing to discuss our political views and affiliations with others when we want to be heard. And thankfully, we’re all more aware of the need for open and honest conversations around important issues like mental health, perhaps more so than ever before. The point is that there are some personal conversations we’re more comfortable having than others. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
In our view, there’s no right or wrong time to start talking about our finances with our loved ones. Communicating our experiences, ideas and our wishes for the future through clear and honest conversations can bring many benefits. It can offer comfort to us, security and help to protect those we care about the most.
Whatever your situation, your personal insight is something others can learn from. And there’s much you can learn from them too. Let’s get the conversation started.
When you’re deciding how to invest, it’s important to remember that the value and income from a fund’s assets will go down as well as up. This will cause the value of your investment to fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you originally invested.
The views expressed in this article should not be taken as a recommendation, advice or forecast. We are unable to give financial advice. If you are unsure about the suitability of your investment, speak to your financial adviser.