June 1, 2014
Do you desire for your family to build wealth and leave a legacy for younger and future generations? If you answered yes, then you are not alone. Many people sincerely want to transition from their current financial status to a stronger, healthier financial state for themselves and their families; however, they don’t know where to start. Even when an individual is improving and growing their personal financial wealth, he or she can be totally lost on how to get their family (immediate and extended) on the same page. What’s the missing link? – Family financial meetings are the catalyst to bring your family together to discuss financial goals and money management challenges, educate family members, and make collaborative decision on the best financial strategies to implement.
The majority of American families have family meetings only once a situation arises that requires immediate attention (e.g. a death in the family, the need for home care assistance for a parent with health challenges, a change that has grossly impacted the family business in a negative way, etc.). At Largo Financial Services, we strongly believe that holding family meetings before situations arise that cause your family to make decisions in crisis-mode is critical in regards to building and maintaining wealth. As an important key factor in creating generational wealth, family financial meetings can include covering such topics as family values, wealth building strategies, personal matters, asset allocation, asset protection, inheritance planning, philanthropy and future goals. Wealthy families make it a habit to hold family meetings yearly or every six months. We encourage you to implement this wealth building strategy within your own family.
If establishing and maintaining your family wealth is really important to you, then don’t delay. Decide on a couple of possible dates hold your first family financial meeting within the next 45 days and invite your family members to attend. Also, it’s beneficial for everyone if the family starts having these meetings before serious health issues start to develop for members of your family.
Choose a comfortable place to host your family financial meeting that is on neutral ground and that will not have a lot of external distractions. Retreat centers, resorts, conference centers, or hotels in metropolitan areas are often great places to hold your family meeting. In addition to having a comfortable environment for your family to meet, the location should ideally offer access to outdoor space where family members have plenty of space to relax and engage in physical activities once the meeting has concluded. With this in mind, family reunions may be a great time for you to hold your family financial meetings.
For your first family finance meeting, you will want to invite all of the adult family members, and their spouses where applicable, across as many generations as possible. Some families also invite long-term partners of relatives as well. Remember that family financial meetings are focused around the long-term vision for the family. We strongly encourage that you invite older children (i.e. 16 yrs old to 21 yrs old) to subsequent family finance meetings after the holding your first meeting so that they can be sit in on the meeting and learn about how the family plans to build wealth. If possible, we recommend that you have separate, fun, financial literacy activities for children of the family to participate in while the adults are meeting together.
Having a structured meeting will help ensure that the meeting runs smoothly and makes everyone aware of what will be covered at the meeting. There will normally be 1 or 2 main people in the family who feel that they should lead/facilitate the family finance meeting. Make a decision on who the facilitator will be and move forward.
Initiating a conversation about legacy is very important. Let a senior family member share about the family’s financial successes, struggles, choices and lessons learned. The objective here is for family members to listen and gain an appreciation of what has been done in the past to help the family to achieve a better quality of life, and to understand where they have come from, and to what they are an heir.
Create an environment where people feel respected. Advise family members to speak for themselves, not others. Let them know to use the word “I,” not “we” when expressing what they feel or want others to know. You should start your family finance meeting by going around the room and asking all family members to say what is on their minds. The facilitator should be vigilant in making sure that no one or two people dominate the conversation and the others are not interrupting people when it’s their turn to speak.
When 2 or 3 generations share decision-making authority, a family’s dynamics are very complicated or delicate, or there is just a need to have a financial planning expert in the room to help guide your family as the meeting touches on different topics, then it’s best to have a professional financial advisor sit in on your meeting. An advisor’s presence can reassure all those present that they will be treated fairly and that, despite their differences, they can come to some sort of agreement.
Do you have more questions about holding a family financial meeting? Would you feel better if a financial advisor was present at your meeting to help you and your family map out strategies to achieve your goals? Our team of licensed financial advisors at Largo Financial Services is here to help you. We help families in MD, DC, VA, and FL host successful family financial meetings. Send us a message or give us a call at 1-888-956-7526 to discuss how we can help you with your family financial meeting.