Keep the conversation going

After your financial advocate has agreed to help you in the future, here’s what you’ll want to share in follow-up conversations.

It’s okay if you aren’t ready to be super specific about how much money you have or how much you owe. Those details can come later. Here’s what you’ll want to share:

  1. Where your financial inventory is stored.
  2. How to access it.
  3. Special requests for how you want your money to be used.

Don’t forget to talk about your values

When sharing information about accounts and insurance policies, it’s easy to forget to discuss what matters to you when it comes to making decisions about how your money is used. Your advocate will be better prepared to make hard financial choices on your behalf if they know how you'd make those choices yourself. To figure out what matters to you, try answering these hypothetical questions about a time in the future when your advocate has stepped in. You can discuss your answers with them during your next conversation.

1. If I had an extra $200 per month, what would I want my financial advocate to do with it?

2. If my advocate learned that I was planning to use my money on something that seemed risky, like a weekend at the casino or a loan to a friend, what would I want my financial advocate to do?

3. What financial goals are a top priority for me in the future?

4. If a close family member was struggling financially and asked for money that they would likely never pay back, what would I want my financial advocate to do?

5. If I was approached by a new investment advisor or insurance agent who wanted me to give them my business, what should my financial advocate do? [Check all that apply.]

If you anticipate there will be disagreements about how you want your money to be used, such as donating to charity or supporting a particular family member (or not), write those wishes down in addition to sharing them out loud. This is a good time to include others in the conversation who may be affected by these decisions.

Communicate your preferences and plans with the right people

Open conversations minimize the chance of future disagreements about how you want your money managed and by whom. If there are several people in your life who may expect to be involved, consider inviting them all together to hear what’s important to you. However, there may be family members that you decide not to include in these conversations, and that’s fine too.

Remember that you do not want to share all your financial details with people who are not your financial advocates, but you still want them to know your overall wishes and needs.

Being a financial advocate can be a big task or a simple task depending on the complexity of your money and your future needs. This document will help you learn more about the many roles and responsibilities of financial advocates and consider what help you might need down the road.

Remember, conversations about your money and what you expect from your financial advocate get easier over time. Take it one step at a time.