How (and Why) to Talk Money at Your Family Dinner Table

Believe it or not, your teenagers want to hear what you have to say about money and your family’s financial decisions. But be willing to listen, too.

Parents and two teenagers talk while having dinner.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Money used to be a taboo topic, even among close family members. But for a growing number of Americans, it’s now table stakes. While difficult to have, sensitive conversations about money are happening more often, and they are vital to ensuring people can plan for the wealth — and health — of their loved ones. Done well, these chats help family members understand each other’s short- and long-term needs and goals — and result in a strong financial plan everyone in the family is aligned with.

It’s also clear that intergenerational wealth discussions are happening sooner than ever. According to Northwestern Mutual’s Planning & Progress Study, the average American thinks the right time to start talking with kids about family finances is age 17. And among Millennials and Gen Z, there’s a desire to start even earlier. These conversations can help young people build a foundation of financial know-how to thrive in the years to come. But, more importantly, they can give families an opportunity to reconnect on expectations, values and their hopes for the future.

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Aditi Javeri Gokhale
Chief Strategy Officer, President of Retail Investments and Head of Institutional Investments, Northwestern Mutual

Aditi Javeri Gokhale holds executive accountabilities for Northwestern Mutual’s strategy to drive growth, competitiveness and relevance. In addition, she leads teams that oversee more than $540 billion in company and client assets, including over $325 billion in the institutional investment portfolio and $215 billion in retail client assets. She is also accountable for NM Future Ventures (the company’s venture investing arm) along with digital disruptor, Wyshbox.