Around The Table: Making the Most of Holiday MomentsSubmitted by Stone House Investment Management, LLC on December 19th, 2016
The holidays are upon us. As you and your family celebrate the season, give the ones you love the greatest gift of all, your time. The following is a message from Stone House Investment Management, LLC Director of Financial Planning/Senior Advisor/Partner, Robert J. Brown.
Who has time to focus on their finances during the holidays? Very few of us. But do you know what many of us have in abundance during this time of year? Family.
The holiday season allows us all one-on-one time with those who are closest to us: siblings, who shared bedrooms and even clothes, cousins, who were your first childhood friends, and relatives that are always a phone call away, but may only be in town a few times per year. Looking back, it’s funny how some of these family members used to be the only people in our lives; now they are still very important to us, but life has now taken us in different directions. Even though we aren’t able to get together as often, it’s common bonds that keep bringing us back together, every year. In times where parents, who brought us into the world, and grandkids, which we cherish, consume our hectic day-to-day, it is important to slow down to appreciate the little moments.
Are there heavy matters that really need to be discussed as a family, or as siblings? Is there someone in your family who might need more help this coming year? Whether it’s financial or health related, (or even both) these are the ideal moments to talk openly. I know today’s world is all about emails, texts, and communicating through digital devices, but nothing replaces face-to-face conversations when it comes to serious matters. Electronic communication can easily send unintended tones, and ultimately lead to miscommunication. When you can sit across from people and read their reactions and emotions, it usually yields the best results.
Depending on the topic, these talks might still be heavy and uncomfortable, but at least you can put it all out there on the table and begin sorting it out. Let’s face it, in many cases, everyone else wants to say similar things, but everyone is too afraid to bring up the topic. So step in and gather the key players for a healthy pow-wow about whatever topics that need to be resolved before the upcoming year. In my experience, the best outcomes for family decision-making come when those involved are levelheaded and not rushed.
Important Tip: You do not need to reach a conclusion during this talk! What you should try to accomplish is that the topic or issue is clearly defined and those involved have a fair opportunity to weigh in and share their thoughts. If you’re able to get that far, fantastic! An excellent ending would be identifying a ‘point person’ who will continue to advance the ball and work to find answers to the group’s questions or concerns.
If you’ve come that far, the next step is finding answers and hopefully solutions. We handle matters like this in our Stone House office constantly. Trust me, everything starts with a good conversation. Schedule a time with one of our Advisors and hopefully we can get your family in a position to enjoy the holidays without all the heavy talk.
In our house, the first conversation is always on us.