WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2011 -- Soon family members and households across the country will be gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving, however this yearly tradition can be about more than just enjoying a home-cooked meal. According to Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, Americans should use the holiday to discuss important financial issues with family members we see infrequently.
"Use this period to engage your family members in a chat about financial planning - yours and theirs," Blayney says. "No matter who has plans to visit this year, there are relevant topics for everyone in the family."
Blayney suggests discussing the following with:
Aging parents - Ask your mom and dad what their wishes are for their later years, when they may have physical, bodily or mental limitations. Do they want to continue to live in their home? Are there sufficient financial resources for this? Who would be best suited to help them with financial decisions? Have they updated their estate planning documents to incorporate their wishes?
College kids - When children are home over Thanksgiving break, take the opportunity to talk about the financial implications of the important decisions they will be making in the next few years. Do they want to travel? Should they get a job and their own place, or go back to school for a graduate degree? How will they manage student loan debt? Make it clear how you will or will not financially support those decisions.
Siblings - If your brothers or sisters play a part in your vision of the future perhaps as guardians for your children or helping you to take care of elderly parents discuss your hopes and expectations with them, and their willingness and capacity to take on these responsibilities. People's lives change and this once-a-year check-in can be a great opportunity to make sure you and your siblings understand each other's wishes.