Last week in Part 1 of this 2-part “Let’s Talk Money” series, we discussed the reality that money as a conversational topic is considered to be the most “do not discuss” topic there is. 44% of respondents in a recent survey by a Charlotte-based Wells Fargo Bank indicated that the topic of personal finances was the most challenging to discuss…more challenging than politics and religion.

These respondents came from all segments (from none to not enough to doing alright to having more than enough to having inherited wealth) of the money spectrum. Bottom line, discussing money was uncomfortable for different reasons ranging from feeling embarrassed/ashamed/incompetent to feeling fraudulent for not having made the money on their own to feeling as though others only cared for them because they had money.

All of this non-discussion leads to ignorance about money…how to earn it, how to use it, how to invest it, how to teach future generations about it so they don’t make the same mistakes, etc. How to get beyond that ignorance? Adopt and adapt your own “Heritage Planning” program.

Heritage Planning has been around for hundreds of years as far back (as I wrote in Part 1) as the Medicis. It’s an ongoing, consistent process that includes, and ought to include, family members of all ages (as young as 10 years old) and financial advisors. Heritage Planning includes discussions, information and education about such topics as

1. how to apply your individual skill sets and talents to a career that may enable you to generate a “reasonable” (your definition) amount of income
2. how to manage overall financial concerns including when and for what to incur debt, how to structure debt repayment plans, how/when to invest in liquid/illiquid assets, how to create passive income, etc.
3. how to plan for and generate enough money to pay for educational costs
4. how to plan for increasing health care costs
5. how to plan for retirement over and beyond Social Security benefits that are/will not be adequate under a best case scenario
6. how to financially support elder family members
7. how to be and feel confident about investing and various investment instruments.

This list can go on and on but I think you get the picture.

Know that you are not alone here. Others feel exactly the same way you do. Silence hurts you and silence hurts others. Without paying attention, money problems tend to get bigger, not smaller, and silence about money tends to become a form of lost intimacy in your relationships.

Additionally, silence about money easily passes along traits and behaviors about money to children. Fifty years down the road, those children and those money problems become huge. “If you are not having money conversations with your kids, “ said David Crosby, behavioral financial expert, “you are handicapping the next generation of savers and investors.”

Bottom line…break your silence and start talking about money. And ask for money help from a financial professional just as you would ask for help from a piano teacher if you wanted to learn how to play the piano.

Learn how to play and talk money. You may sleep better, your relationships may improve, your kids may become more empowered. Be it $5.00 or $5M, any amount of money impacts your and everyone’s lives. Get on board and let’s talk.

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