Here, how to tackle thorny financial issues with your adult children.


Q. Our daughter is planning to get married next year to a wonderful young man who my wife and I like very much. They're among the lucky ones in that they're recent university graduates who both landed great new jobs. But they also have significant student debt ($28,000 each). Our concern is that our daughter is a saver and our future son-in-law is a spender. That worries us because he's already talking about trying to buy a house. We don't want to interfere but we know money is the number-one factor in divorces so we don't want them getting off to a bad start. How can we broach the subject and what, if anything, should we suggest they do?'

Jeff, Ottawa


A. Your concerns are well founded. Scott Hannah, president and CEO of the Vancouver-based Credit Counselling Society, has seen what can happen to couples who are not on the same page with finances.

“It’s a rocky road ahead,” he says.  But you and your wife will have to tread lightly if you want to avoid getting your future son-in-law’s back up and a finger wagging from your daughter. Instead of telling them what to do and what not to do, try and find a subtle way to bring up the topic of finances.

Then use your own experiences to make a few key points, highlighting your financial accomplishments and some of the challenges you shared as a couple over the years. It’s worth a try since it’s vital they have ‘the talk’ – and keep talking.

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