Tips for family money talks

Key Points

  • Communicate openly to increase your family’s financial confidence.
  • Start discussions sooner rather than later and encourage everyone to speak up.
  • Engage your advisor as a neutral third party to help facilitate talks.

Families who set aside their apprehensions to talk about money say they have better relationships and are more financially confident, according to our research.1 You can do that, too, and your advisor can help.

Breaking the ice

"Many of our conversational barriers are self-imposed because kicking off a talk might seem intimidating," says Marcy Keckler, CRPC®, CFP®, vice president, Financial Advice Strategy at Ameriprise Financial. "If you approach it in the right way, the talk can turn into a positive, constructive experience for everyone involved."

Your Ameriprise advisor can help break the ice. "A shared advisor can provide your family members with a common, neutral starting point for money discussions," Marcy says. "Your advisor will take the time to understand the full scope of your family’s goals and needs and provide personalized advice."


Ready to talk with your family? Use our conversation checklist.

  • Start discussions sooner rather than later
    Talk about family finances before a milestone or tragedy. A graduation or wedding can be a positive time for a discussion. Conversely, nine in 10 adult children say a life-altering event prompted an estate planning talk with their parents.1

  • Determine goals and priorities
    Set an agenda to help keep everyone focused. Be realistic about what you can achieve in each session, and plan for complex topics to take a few meetings.
  • Keep communication open
    Encourage everyone to speak up, be frank, stay open-minded and keep past conflicts out of the talks. Honest financial conversations can help everyone avoid misunderstandings that could ripple through the family.
  • Talk less, listen more
    Your family can boost its chances of a productive conversation when everyone listens actively, seeks to understand and respectfully acknowledges others’ points of view.
  • Share where important documents are located
    Family members should know where to find key elements of their estate plans (e.g., a will, trust, beneficiaries, power of attorney, health care directive) and how to access online accounts (e.g., user IDs and passwords).
  • Work with your advisor
    Your Ameriprise advisor can help guide the conversations, take the time to understand what’s truly important to everyone and provided personalized advice based on your family’s goals and needs.


We can help

An Ameriprise advisor can help ease the way for money talks across the generations of your family. Contact an advisor and talk with your family about getting started today.

1The Ameriprise Family Wealth Checkup study was commissioned by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and conducted online between Nov. 23 and Dec. 15, 2016, by Artemis Strategy Group among 1,700 U.S. adults between ages 25 and 70, who had at least one living immediate family member. They also had at least $100,000 in investable assets ($25,000 in investable assets for younger respondents).
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the CFP® certification mark, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification mark, and the CFP® certification mark (with plaque design) logo in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
For further information and detail about the Family Wealth Checkup study, including verification of data that may not be published as part of this article, please contact Ameriprise Financial.
Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.
Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC.