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Married Money: We recently sat down with our great friend Zach Brittle from Marriage Therapy Radio to talk about what he sees in his work with families, specifically in the area of finances. He shared with us his insights into things like:

  • What he sees healthy couples doing around the topic of money
  • How to identify and prevent the root causes of financial conflict
  • Best practices for couples who want to be more intentional

It’s a 30-minute conversation, and I would highly encourage you to set aside some time, grab a beverage of your choice, and hear what Zach has to share in our conversation.

Click here to watch.

Cutting the Cord: Parents are cutting the financial cord with their adult kids later than ever. Covering the monthly phone bill or rent continues far longer than prior generations. Some are helping with down payments to buy homes. However, this comes with a price tag. According to a recent survey, more than a quarter of parents who are financially helping children said it caused them to postpone retirement. Over half had to cut back on living expenses, and about a third took on debt. Feeling stretched, many are negotiating terms of separation.

Many adult children live at home or move back in to save money. Food costs and rent have jumped, and more college graduates are saddled with student debt. In 2022, student loans for those ages 25-29 have risen 43% from 28% in 1992. The rise is even more significant for those between 30 and 34, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center.

There are, of course, valid reasons for such arrangements. However, creating clear boundaries is the best way forward for both parents and kids. It may be a financial saving goal or slowly decreasing the bills being covered, but boundaries are a good idea.

Estate Planning in Blended Families: Obviously, estate planning is a huge part of financial planning, but there are added complexities with blended families. The added family dynamics require some thoughtful consideration, and we have four steps to consider if you are in this situation:

  1. Start with open and honest communication. It is essential for all family members, including stepparents, stepchildren, and biological children, to express wishes and concerns.
  2. Review and update beneficiaries. A critical step in financial planning is reviewing and updating beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial assets.
  3. Create a will and trust. While your wishes clearly laid out in a will is essential for any financial plan, it is essential in a blended family situation. A will lets you specify how you want your assets distributed and who will manage your estate. In blended families, stepchildren may not have legal rights to inherit from their stepparent unless specified in the estate plan.
  4. Accounts for other financial obligations. Many individuals in blended families have financial commitments to their ex-spouses (i.e., alimony or child support). It is crucial to account for these obligations in the estate plan to prevent conflicts and legal issues.

We are eager to help in these steps as you see fit. Please reach out today if you need to start your estate planning or have questions regarding your current plans.

10 Most Important Financial Skills: Morgan Housel is a favorite financial podcaster in our office. He recently published an episode on the soft, behavioral side of investing. Morgan shares what he sees as 10 of the most critical financial rules. The first two he includes are:

  • Realize that it can happen to you—job loss, divorce, victim of fraud, risks you didn’t see coming—these are viewed as always happening to someone else, but no one is exempt from them. It should mean you consider risk in ways you don’t normally think about it. “You need to realize it can happen to you—the bad news, the bad luck that you see happening to other people—can happen to you. This is the first acknowledgment, the first skill you need, in order to have the appropriate room for error to do well over time.”
  • Realize no one is as impressed with your possessions as much as you are. No one is thinking about you as much as you are. No one cares as much about your stuff as you do. “The quirk is that that people who see your nice stuff spend more time imagining themselves with yourself than they do admire you for having that stuff.”

It’s all gold … and we recommend listening to the entire 15-minute episode. Let us know what you think. Take a listen here.