5 Great Topics for Family Meetings

Contributed by: Melissa Joy, CFP® Melissa Joy

For many, December is about traditions, celebrations, and family. I recently wrote about the value of family meetings (around the holidays or otherwise) in a blog for Money Magazine.

Here are five great topics for your family meeting this year.

  1. How are we doing? It’s natural to assess your personal or financial situation at year-end. Perhaps you’d like to share accomplishments, get everyone on the same page, or discuss some anticipated challenges to family dynamics or finances.
  2. Care for aging family members. Whether you are concerned about your parents or aging relatives plan for care, or you would like to share your own eldercare game plan, a formal family discussion will likely be welcome. Kids worry about mom and dad as they grow older. Getting everyone in the room so expectations are clear can be time well spent. This might also be an appropriate time for you to discuss your future trustees or power of attorney established within your estate plan to provide context and non-legalese instructions.
  3. Financial responsibility. As children turn into adults and leave the nest, money lessons are important. Use your family’s time together to discuss important financial concepts or encourage your kids to meet with your financial planner so that they are making the time to focus on their own financial well-being.
  4. Legacy stories. Families are often influenced by important stories from past generations. Are you making the time to share these special, personal anecdotes with the people you care about? With new technology, you can put together a formal video or recording or simply take some time to appreciate and share your favorite memories.
  5. Family philanthropy. Giving and philanthropy offer a great way to share money ideas and lessons. It’s a bonus that you can assist organizations or causes that are important to each other. Consider crafting a philanthropic giving statement or working together to come up with ideas for year-end giving. This can also be a great introduction to family governance required within your estate plan. 

Melissa Joy, CFP® is Partner and Director of Investments at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. In 2013, Melissa was honored by Financial Advisor magazine in the Research All Star List for the third consecutive year. In addition to her contributions to Money Centered blogs, she writes investment updates at The Center and is regularly quoted in national media publications including The Chicago Tribune, Investment News, and Morningstar Advisor.

Financial Advisor magazine's inaugural Research All Star List is based on job function of the person evaluated, fund selections and evaluation process used, study of rejected fund examples, and evaluation of challenges faced in the job and actions taken to overcome those challenges. Evaluations are independently conducted by Financial Advisor Magazine.