November 10, 2019
Listen to Podcast Episode:
Why are we so afraid to talk with our family about our money?
Suze Orman here and you are listening to the Women and Money podcast. I don't understand it. I just don't get why all of you have such a hard time talking about money, especially if it's in the family. It's like we can show each other how much we love one another by buying us gifts. But what did it take to buy those gifts? It took money. We can show that we care about each other by taking us out to dinner and doing all this stuff for us. What did it take? It took money. But to sit down, especially if it's a family and talk about money, I don't think so. So today's podcast is all about Let's Talk Money because if you don't start talking about money with those that you love right now, if you don't start talking about money with your parents, with your kids, with everybody, I am telling you, you are going to leave a financial mess behind, and the problem is, you don't know when something's going to happen to you. You don't know if you're going to get sick, you don't know if you're going to die, you don't know if you're going to get divorced, you don't know what the future brings. And that is why every single one of you owes it to yourself, to your loved ones, to your family, to people who are involved with you that you talk about what's important to you. And if you think money isn't important to you, oh, you just try, you just try to go out there and live without money. I just don't get it, people.Now, why do I sound this way? I sound this way because I just read an email from Jacquline and this email breaks my heart. It breaks my heart. So I'm going to read it to you, and then I'm going to talk about it.She says, Suze, I love your podcast, I've been following you for years. My husband and I are financially responsible people. We have no debt, we have an emergency fund, we save for our retirement, and we have college funds for our children. My question is about my in-laws. My husband loves his parents, however, they are nearing retirement and refuse to talk to us about their future plans. My husband has tried every way imaginable to ask them what their emergency plans are or if they'll even have enough in retirement. My husband grew up poor, so they're not sure what they might have saved. All we know is that they should each receive a small pension and some social security.They won't even discuss whether they plan to go to a nursing home when and if that day comes or if they plan on moving in with us. I'm a planner and I like all expectations to be known well ahead of time. My husband loves his parents dearly and would do anything for them. My question is, what are my obligations to them? Maybe they have loads of money saved and will be well off in their retirement years. Maybe they will run out of funds and need financial help. The problem is that we don't know these things, and I think they have an obligation to tell us, especially since my husband is an only child. If they'll need help paying for nursing home medical bills, etcetera, I'd like to know now so that we can start saving extra for that. Something they're not thinking about, and I don't like to think about either, is what if something happens to my husband and I'm left to care for them alone? I love my husband, therefore, I would definitely fulfill this role as caregiver to his parents because I know how much he'd have wanted to do it himself. They don't think things through. So, does that mean it's fair to leave us in a financially difficult situation? What do you think? Jacquline.Well now, do you understand why I want to do a podcast on Let's Talk Money? You know it's probable because you say that your husband grew up poor, that his parents always grew up feeling ashamed of what they did not have, especially in comparison to others. So they learned, they learned not to talk about it. But we have to talk about money, and just because they don't want to does not mean that you do not talk to them. So what happens when you start talking about money? Do they just say, I'm not talking about it or because they're uncomfortable, do you just stop talking about it? Now, maybe, just maybe, they're embarrassed to talk about it in front of you. Maybe they would talk to their son about it alone. Or, maybe it would be better off if you didn't talk about, it if you wrote them a letter just like you wrote to me? But out of love, not out of frustration like the one you wrote to me, but out of love and why you need to know what you need to know. That you want to be there for them, that you want to be able to make sure that they're OK, and you want to make finances a family affair. So, please don't cut you out, that you have your own fares when it comes to money and that you want to treat this, really, as if what can we do to make sure that we all are OK. Now it is possible if they're old school, that they think you want to talk to them about what they have so that you know what you are going to inherit? I'm not saying that that's what they think and that you haven't already told them that's not true. But so many times, the elderly are just like, I'm not telling them, I only care about my money, they don't care about me. They only care about me because I have money.So when people don't feel like they're valued and that the only thing that the kids want is their money oh, they will close down. They will just shut up so tight all their emotions within them that there's no way you're going to pry that box open. There's no way you're going to get them to do a will, and a trust, an advance directive and a durable power of attorney for health care. There is no way. So the question has to be asked, and all of you listen because this isn't just for Jacquline, this is for all of you because you have got to make money something that you're proud to talk about. Whether you have money, whether you don't have money, whether you are afraid of money or you're totally confident with money, why aren't you all sitting around the table and discussing how much debt you have? Why aren't you discussing what it takes to run the household? Why aren't you talking about that you don't have enough money to send your kids to school or whatever it may be? It is really important because if you can't talk about money, again, what Suze Orman would tell you is, you can't talk about who you are. You cannot be honest with those that you love. How many times am I going to have to say on this podcast that your money and you are one? If your money is a financial chaotic mess, it's because you are a financial chaotic mess because your money can't do anything without you. So, therefore, you need to start talking about it, because when you don't, you are passing fear down to your children or fear up to your parents who are worried about you, because how are you going to do this?So whether you're a parent or whether you're a kid, or whether you're a brother or whether you're a sister, or whether you're an aunt, uncle, niece or nephew, cousin, I don't care? None of you should be afraid about walking in and saying, Mom, let's talk money. Let's all practice that saying right now, try to just say it, pretend as you go into a room with somebody that you love and say, can we talk money? Let's talk about money. And they're going to look at you like, well what do you want to know? And this is where you're going to have to muster up your courage. You know, I did a podcast a while ago. I think it was in the first season on the Eight Qualities of a Wealthy Woman. And one of the qualities is courage. It takes courage to say what's on your mind. It takes courage to go and talk about something that nobody wants to talk about. You know, very shortly here, we have a friend, a man who's coming to stay with us, and he's in a relationship that he does not want to be in anymore, and he's really finding himself spinning out of control. So he called KT and me, and he said, can I please come and spend a few days with you? I need guidance. So here this morning, I'm having breakfast with KT, and I'm telling her my thoughts about what I would like to say to this gentleman, and she says, you can't say that to him. You have to be more gentle. You can't just talk to him like that. Where's he going to put it? And I said to her, the reason he's in this situation is why? Because nobody has been honest with him, nobody has told him. I tried to tell him 10 or 15 years ago, and 10 or 15 years ago you told me I was too harsh. He should have listened to me 10 or 15 years ago.So, it's not that I wanted to talk to him and slap him down to slap him down. But I want to tell him what I'm really feeling about money and his situation, and she's telling me I need to be more gentle. It's a sensitive topic. It's his life. It's your life, it's your parent's life, it's your children's life. So you have to muster up the courage to say what is absolutely true for you. And if you're angry at your parents or your in-laws or whatever, you need to then tell them or write them, I get that you don't want to talk about it, but I am not going to take no for an answer. Because what happens to your life directly affects the quality of our lives, and if you really loved us, you would talk about this. We need to know. And if you're thinking that we're asking you these questions because we want your money, we don't care about your money. We care about making sure that you have enough money, and if we need to save for you, do you need to live with us? What do we need to do? And again, like I started to say and then got totally sidetracked here, which is, and if you can't say it to them, you have to write it to them in a letter because maybe that's how they need to read it over and over again.Oh, Jacquline is really upset, and she's scared. Look at what she's saying to us. She wants to take care of us. This is why she wants to know, this is why our son wants to know, and let them read it over and over again. So if you've had talks with your family and they just shut it down, but you need to talk to them about money, then there are only two ways you can do it. Where you speak your mind and you do not let them pull back from the conversation, and you do whatever it takes to make them sit at the table with you. Or, if you don't get anywhere doing it that way, or you already know that way they will not respond to, then what do you do? You write them a heartfelt letter. Make sure you keep a copy of that letter because you never know when they will just react and rip it up and then be sorry that they did. But what do you have to do? You have to learn how to talk about money with everyone. So let's just try this one more time. Let's talk money. Money. It's really not that hard at all. In providing answers neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman is acting as a Certified Financial Planner, advisor, a Certified Financial Analyst, an economist, CPA, accountant, or lawyer. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman makes any recommendations as to any specific securities or investments. All content is for informational and general purposes only and does not constitute financial, accounting or legal advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and financial advisors regarding your particular situation. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman accepts any responsibility for any loss, which may arise from accessing or reliance on the information in this podcast and to the fullest extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for loss or damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of the information. To find the right Credit Union for you, visit https://www.mycreditunion.gov/. Interested in Suze's Must Have Documents? Go to https://shop.suzeorman.com/checkout/cart/index/.