NOV 11 2019
All Posts
NOV 11 2019
All Posts

Why Kiwi families need to talk more about money!

Posted by: William Sargent in opinion

Why Kiwi families need to talk more about money!

Kiwis are a humble bunch, not ones to brag or show off. This can often mean that we are notoriously bad when it comes to talking about money and assets. It’s a topic that makes everyone nervous, we clam up and avoid it at all costs, especially when it comes to talking with family.

In my opinion, one of the reasons no one wants to talk about it as it always leads to another topic Kiwi’s don’t really talk about. Death.

Facing some uncomfortable truths.

As the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation start to move into their 70’s, it’s important for them to start to share information about their financial position with their children, in the event something happens to them. Not knowing what parents own can become an issue that causes problems after their death. Unrealistic expectations among siblings, in-fighting, and other issues can arise if there are surprises or unclear instructions left behind. 

My family never used to talk about money. It wasn’t until my Dad, who was well respected in Estate Planning, was diagnosed with a terminal illness that we first spoke about it. We sat down as a family and ‘opened the chest’ of family jewels and discussed what was owned, where to find information, and key people to talk to. That was six years ago.

From that point onward everyone in my family was aware of decisions that were made. Bigger decisions were discussed collectively. That doesn’t mean everyone was involved in making the decisions, just aware of what they were. We had discussions around who could control matters should Dad become incapacitated, and what should happen upon his death. 

Because life can change in an instant.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Dad passed away earlier this year. Having already lost our mother to illness, it meant that my sister and I became executors of Dad’s Estate. In a situation that could be daunting, particularly no longer having parents to seek counsel from, my sister and I have a clear road map of what should be happening. There have been no unexpected surprises and we are able to manage the Estate without unneeded distraction. Given we had discussions around what Dad wanted there has been no fighting, and having a good sibling relationship has certainly helped.

I have seen in many instances where family rifts arise through stress at already distressing times, and focus being taken away from grieving to having to sort matters in a timely manner.  Worse still, if no Estate Planning arrangements have been put in place, family members may have to go through the Courts, causing further confusion and upset. If you can prevent this from happening, why wouldn’t you?

It’s a conversation worth having.

Sit down with your parents, children or significant others to:

  • Talk about Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and ensure they are up-to-date
  • If a Trust exists, have a Memorandum of Wishes outlining what should happen
  • Talk about the ‘what if’s’ and the roles of people in the family  
  • Include family in decisions and the rationale for why decisions were made.

Before it’s too late.

William Sargent is an Authorised Financial Adviser at Rutherford Rede. He specialises in helping clients who are accumulating surplus cash and wanting to invest for the longer term. A Disclosure Statement is available, on request and free of charge.

Tags: Special interest topic,

Why Kiwi families need to talk more about money!

Kiwis are a humble bunch, not ones to brag or show off. This can often mean that we are notoriously bad when it comes to talking about money and assets. It’s a topic that makes everyone nervous, we clam up and avoid it at all costs, especially when it comes to talking with family.

In my opinion, one of the reasons no one wants to talk about it as it always leads to another topic Kiwi’s don’t really talk about. Death.

Facing some uncomfortable truths.

As the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation start to move into their 70’s, it’s important for them to start to share information about their financial position with their children, in the event something happens to them. Not knowing what parents own can become an issue that causes problems after their death. Unrealistic expectations among siblings, in-fighting, and other issues can arise if there are surprises or unclear instructions left behind. 

My family never used to talk about money. It wasn’t until my Dad, who was well respected in Estate Planning, was diagnosed with a terminal illness that we first spoke about it. We sat down as a family and ‘opened the chest’ of family jewels and discussed what was owned, where to find information, and key people to talk to. That was six years ago.

From that point onward everyone in my family was aware of decisions that were made. Bigger decisions were discussed collectively. That doesn’t mean everyone was involved in making the decisions, just aware of what they were. We had discussions around who could control matters should Dad become incapacitated, and what should happen upon his death. 

Because life can change in an instant.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Dad passed away earlier this year. Having already lost our mother to illness, it meant that my sister and I became executors of Dad’s Estate. In a situation that could be daunting, particularly no longer having parents to seek counsel from, my sister and I have a clear road map of what should be happening. There have been no unexpected surprises and we are able to manage the Estate without unneeded distraction. Given we had discussions around what Dad wanted there has been no fighting, and having a good sibling relationship has certainly helped.

I have seen in many instances where family rifts arise through stress at already distressing times, and focus being taken away from grieving to having to sort matters in a timely manner.  Worse still, if no Estate Planning arrangements have been put in place, family members may have to go through the Courts, causing further confusion and upset. If you can prevent this from happening, why wouldn’t you?

It’s a conversation worth having.

Sit down with your parents, children or significant others to:

  • Talk about Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and ensure they are up-to-date
  • If a Trust exists, have a Memorandum of Wishes outlining what should happen
  • Talk about the ‘what if’s’ and the roles of people in the family  
  • Include family in decisions and the rationale for why decisions were made.

Before it’s too late.

William Sargent is an Authorised Financial Adviser at Rutherford Rede. He specialises in helping clients who are accumulating surplus cash and wanting to invest for the longer term. A Disclosure Statement is available, on request and free of charge.

Tags: Special interest topic,

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