Consumer Reports: Tips on talking about money with family

Consumer Reports: Tips on talking about money with family

Friday, May 19, 2017
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Talking about money with loved ones can sometimes be uncomfortable, so 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney partnered up with Consumer Reports with ways to make it easier.

Attitudes about money and spending habits run deep. We learn early in life to be spenders or savers, so when there's a tricky financial decision to be made by family members with conflicting money perspectives, worlds can collide.

Consumer Reports has advice on how to keep the peace, and set out on a secure financial course.

Holding a family conversation about money in a neutral place or even taking a walk in an outdoor setting, like a park is recommended. Studies show people are better able to process information and come up with creative ideas while engaged in physical activity in nature.

In a recent survey, Consumer Reports asked Americans to rate how comfortable they were when having various money conversations with their family members. Of those who have had these conversations, 29-percent were uncomfortable telling their parents it's time for someone to take over the managing of their finances. And 40-percent were uncomfortable telling their teenagers or adult children it's time to leave the nest. However, the toughest conversation -- 49-percent were uncomfortable telling their spouse they aren't bringing in enough income.

For anyone who has felt this way, there are strategies to making awkward conversations slightly less awkward. For example, the first tip is to focus on only one topic. "Too often, people try to tackle everything at once. So, start with identifying one element of the problem. You can work out the details of the resolution once everyone's on the same page," Consumer Reports spokesperson Tobie Stanger said.

And sometimes you have to agree to disagree. "No amount of talking is going guarantee that you're going to get another person to see everything your way. When you reach an impasse, you may have to say sometimes, OK, let's move on. But to make real progress, you may want to bring in a professional," Stanger said.

A financial planner, CPA or a mediator, can help keep the conversations on track. They can also take responsibility for assigning tasks and holding people accountable.

Click the video viewer above to see Michael's full report.

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