The Alignment Index: Family


 

Zach Conway: For many of us, family is the most important aspect of our lives. That’s why we work so hard to provide for and protect each other. We want our children to have great opportunities, live fulfilling lives, and carry our values. That’s why family is one of the 10 categories in our Alignment Index. As advisors, we ask each client whether he or she feels satisfied with the quantity and quality of time spent with family. Starting these conversations very often uncovers financial and nonfinancial conflicts in relationships.

We’ve all seen our fair share of fights over Thanksgiving dinner. Before the holiday, take a moment to reflect on your family life. What problems have you let go unaddressed? Even when we know that avoiding money issues creates crippling stress within a family, we stay silent as to not offend or create controversy. In sitting down to discuss family values and financial matters, families can uncover individual concerns that would otherwise go unaddressed. Many children misunderstand money because families forget to discuss finances at all. Parents can also educate children to understand the meaning of wealth beyond the numbers. While parents must teach children how every financial decision affects the bottom line, they must also address the powers and responsibilities that come with money, particularly how families can use wealth as a tool to enrich life and the lives of others through philanthropy.

Remember to recognize that we all have conflict in common, but rarer are those who choose to address and resolve these problems. In choosing to educate and talk with one another, families can reconcile differences and unite. Even better, families together can enjoy Thanksgiving without a fight.