Family Money Conversations

martinis and your money

Family Money Conversations

Today, I am sharing a bonus episode of Martinis and Your Money. A few months back, I attended a happy hour in New York and met Paul Golden from the National Endowment for Financial Education; and he shared with me the research they had funded around people’s decline in financial decision-making. I realized immediately that I wanted to have him on the podcast and specifically to address this topic before the holidays when people are home with their loved ones.

I know that money is a taboo topic amongst families and frequently parents don’t want to burden their children or may not trust their children with decision-making, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start to have money conversations as a family. I advise clients to ask their parents about their financial decisions specifically if something were to happen to them, and if the children are part of the solution, then I believe the conversations need to start as soon as possible.

I have seen too many examples as a financial planner of clients who have struggled with their parent’s finances or their spouse’s finances after their loved ones are gone and it’s so much more challenging to have to figure out the financial situation when you are distressed and emotional over losing someone.

As you head home for the holidays, I highly encourage you to not only check on your loved ones and make sure they look like they are capable of taking care of their finances, but that you also begin to have the money conversation. The more information and planning you share while you’re together, the easier it will be to manage when you’re apart; and if all else fails, just play some Adele.

What are we drinking?

Paul Golden – Single malt scotch on the rocks

Shannon – Dirty Gin Martini

Podcast Notes:

  • The holidays present a great opportunity to see if there are any warning signs that your loved ones have any cognitive deterioration that could impact their money management
  • Research shows that the peak of financial decision-making occurs in our 50s
  • 5 Warning Signs That There May Be A Financial Decline
    • Slowness in completing financial tasks. Are stacks of mail piling up? Is there an unopened bank or credit card statement?
    • Missing key details and financial documents. Are bills being paid twice?
    • Problems with everyday arithmetic. Do they have difficulty calculating the restaurant tip?
    • Having a decreased understanding of financial concepts. Do they understand their social security benefits or healthcare coverage?
    • Difficulty identifying risks in investment opportunities. Are your parent’s susceptible to fraud or investment scams?
  • Talk to your parents about what they are doing with their money
  • If there isn’t a plan in place, you become a ward of the state as far as your financial decisions are concerned
  • If you don’t have trust in your family members then get someone else involved
  • Shannon shares how she got involved with her mom’s financial situation
  • We discuss the importance of an inventory of assets and bank accounts
  • Paul shares a best practice of assigning responsibility to the family to work as a team around the parent’s finances.
  • Great Resources for family conversations about money
Have you talked to your parent’s about their money situation? Do you have a financial plan in place should something happen to your loved ones?
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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. Not a fun topic, but very important. Seeing my grandparents age and have serious medical problems – and specifically how stubborn they are – makes me concerned that down the road my parents will be too stubborn to allow me to help or step in. I think it’s important and ideal to keep the lines of communication open WELL before they reach that point. Tough topic but glad you are discussing it on the podcast.

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