Is it time to introduce your financial advisor to your adult children?
You’ve likely had a relationship with your financial advisor for many years now. Your advisor knows a good deal about you and your family, but what does your family know about your advisor? Would your children know how to contact your advisor if you weren’t around? Could your children benefit from a relationship of their own with your advisor? When should an introduction like this take place? It can be overwhelming and intrusive to be faced with these questions as you think of sharing your financial information with your children. But, there are many ways to make the introduction, and most don’t even involve talking about money.
Important List of Relationships
The easiest thing you can do today is provide your children with a list of important relationships you have. Included on this list would be the names and contact information for your financial advisor, attorney and tax preparer (at a minimum). Should you have business partners, multiple advisors/attorneys or other people your children would need to interact with on your behalf, those individuals should be included as well. Net worth, estate plan and tax details don’t need to be shared. This allows you to retain a level of privacy. Collecting and sharing this information will greatly reduce the stress and anxiety your children will feel when they are in a position to make decisions related to your assets.
Topic of Money
Parents and adult children rarely talk about money. It falls under the category of “taboo” topics, like religion and politics. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is life lessons you’ve learned related to money. A suggestion is to have your children talk through some of their financial questions with your advisor. That could remove the awkwardness of talking about money with family members, but still help your children get answers and direction. Do they have questions about buying a home, saving for college for their children, refinancing student loans, a traditional 401k vs. a Roth 401k, etc.? Most adult children in their 20s and 30s don’t necessarily need a full relationship with a financial advisor, but having a resource (who isn’t a parent) for questions can be a real benefit.
But when should this all happen?
Until you’ve included your children in your estate documents as decision makers, they probably don’t need access to that list of important relationships. Instead, make sure the current decision makers (ex. your parents, siblings, friends, etc.) have that list. As your children age and become the point people in your estate plan, then sharing the list with them is extremely important. When considering a general introduction to your financial advisor, we think the sooner the better. We’ve met with our clients’ high school-aged children and “kids” who are in their 50s and 60s, plus many in between. These meetings are casual and very high level – we rarely discuss specific account balance and net worth details, but instead share what our role is and how we can be helpful.
One of our favorite things to do with our clients is a family meeting. We set an agenda ahead of time with your input and can include attorneys and CPAs in addition to family members if that makes sense. White Oaks have been around for almost 34 years already, and we expect to be around caring for you and family for many generations to come. Reach out today if you’d like to introduce your family to ours.
Laura Bereiter, CPA, PFS™, CFP® joined White Oaks Wealth Advisors in October 2015. She offers comprehensive wealth, tax, and estate planning to the firm’s clients.