Chapter 7Family Money

Families are not very good at talking about money. We never have been, really. Whether saving for college, paying for a wedding, or periodically adjusting financial goals, it's a scary, taboo subject mostly avoided. Perhaps it is perceived as crass to talk about how much money you have and what your wealth goals are. Or maybe there is embarrassment about not having financial goals. Whatever the reason, we're more likely to talk about religion, politics, and sex than money. We'd do well to spend less time arguing about politics and more time having frank discussions about finances.

For millennials, money discussions come in three varieties. First, with their parents there are conversations about who's paying tuition or cosigning student loans. Living at home? Will the boomerang back to the childhood bedroom come with strings attached and, if so, what are they? What is the proper way for a college graduate to ask for money? And, most important, are the parents being clear with their child about whether their own retirement savings are being used to pay for the millennial's launch into the world? (Read on.)

The second discussion is among peers. Are you sharing the expenses for dinners out and concerts? Trading off? Imagine ...

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