Host: Dave Specht, National Development Manager for Family Dynamics, Wells Fargo Private Bank
If you are a grandparent, you no doubt view your children and grandchildren as your most precious assets. So what are some of the biggest opportunities for you to invest in their future?
I’m Dave Specht, National Development Manager for Family Dynamics for Wells Fargo Private Bank, and this is “Your Financial Journey,” a podcast series that explores questions that families of wealth commonly face. Today, our focus will be effective ways to make a difference in the lives of your grandchildren.
There is a saying: “Becoming a grandparent is the dessert of life.” As a parent, you are the disciplinarian, the teacher, and the caregiver for your children. As a grandparent, you may feel more freedom to create the kind of relationship and friendship you’d like with your grandchildren. You may think it is your “right” to be able to spoil them as you please. This may be true, but it also has its risks. Here is a list of ideas to consider if you would like to effectively pass on wealth and values to your grandchildren.
Idea #1: Invest time with your grandchildren
Make your biggest investment in your grandchildren your time, not your money. Be intentional about making memories with your grandchildren. If you want to give them something, offer them experiences and your time. They will cherish the memories and will learn from the time you invested in them.
Idea #2: Tell them stories about the past
Take the opportunity to provide context to the life they are leading. Share stories about family history and the times when you and other family members showed great resilience, sacrifice and work ethic. These kinds of stories provide perspective for your grandchildren and may encourage a sense of stewardship of family wealth as opposed to entitlement. Growing up financially privileged, they may lack the viewpoint of what it took the family to accumulate wealth and the lifestyle it provides.
Idea #3: Communicate with their parents and respect their wishes in your estate plans
You may feel it is your right to choose what you give to your children and your grandchildren. To avoid potential family conflict, however, it may be better to respect the wishes of your children with regard to how you share your wealth with their children. Be sure to seek their parents’ opinions and permission to do so.
Idea #4: Ask what they need from you; do not assume you know
Restrain yourself from solving their struggles but be present and available. Your most impactful assistance may come in the form of listening to their challenges, coaching them on how to address them and then letting them find their own solutions.
Idea #5: Cultivate and coordinate your relationship with their parents
Kids are smart and they will sometimes ask you to do things that their parents have already said no to. The best thing you can do for your grandchildren may be to have a healthy and open communication with their parents. Everything you do for your grandchildren should enhance the relationship they have with their parents, not diminish it. This will take a conscientious effort, but it is worth working on.
To learn more about managing through the potential family situations that can arise between you, your children, and grandchildren, contact your Wells Fargo Private Bank Relationship Manager.