Building a Family

One of the questions our team is frequently asked is “how do I educate my kids about money?”.

For many, wealth planning involves preparing your heirs to be good stewards of your wealth and to carry on your legacy after you’re gone. Furthermore, it is most parents’ hope that their children will grow up making smarter decisions than they did, and perhaps avoid some of their own mistakes. The goal of this series is to help educate the next generation on the most foundational pieces of wealth planning and to create a launchpad for your family to discuss values surrounding money.

When we talk to our clients and their families about financial literacy for the next generation, we find it useful to break down the conversations into four life stages:
1. Grade school
2. High school/preparing for college
3. College/early career
4. Building a family (marriage, children, etc.)

This post will focus on the fourth and final group – grown children who are becoming established and building families of their own.

The three tools we like best for this life stage are:
• A financial questionnaire – and a long conversation
• Banking for family efficiency
• 529 accounts

When young people branch off and begin to start families of their own, one of the most difficult aspects can be the handling of finances. Everyone has a unique upbringing and background when it comes to money and, for that reason, it is among the most important conversations two people can have when planning for a future together. An easy place to start is by completing a financial questionnaire to help understand the values and habits that each partner is bringing into the relationship. It may seem obvious but setting aside time to have intentional and honest conversations can help ensure everyone is on the same page, thereby reducing conflict. It’s also a great time to talk about long-term goals and aspirations that will impact financial planning, such as retirement dreams.

Next is merging budgets and setting up banking for family efficiency. Take stock of all joint expenses like rent/mortgage, insurance, car payments, student loans, etc. and how those will be paid. Then consider how to handle individual expenses like morning coffee, clubs, and hobbies that spouses may not share. Once that is all outlined, banking can be set up to fit those needs. Establishing a clearly defined structure for inflows and outflows will help reduce friction and set up the household for success.

Lastly, if the young couple has or is planning to have kids, discuss expectations surrounding education. If paying for college is a goal, then a 529 account is an efficient way to start saving, even if it’s only a few dollars a month. 529 plans allow for state tax-deductible contributions (in some states), tax-deferred growth, and tax-free withdrawals for qualified education-related expenses (tuition, books, etc.). Grandparents often set up and start funding a 529, naming their grandchild as the beneficiary while receiving the tax benefits (where eligible).

We hope this has provided useful information about how young couples and families can lay a strong foundation for their financial future. If you ever have questions or want to discuss how to implement these tools, don’t hesitate to contact Amanda at 414-644-0061 or

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