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Dealing With The Holiday "Skunks"

No one wants to talk about death, illness or divorce. Unfortunately, you may have to raise some unpleasant issues when you speak with family members over the holidays if you want to ensure a successful retirement.

The holidays have a wonderful way of bringing families together around the same table like no other time of the year. These get-togethers, however joyful, can be fragile on many levels. While we all know the old saw about avoiding arguments over religion and politics, there are other potential skunks that can spoil the festivities.

Unfortunately, some of these skunks are subjects that really do need to be addressed while the family is available for discussion.

For example, a recent article in DailyFinance is rather blunt: "Boomers Need to Talk About Long-Term Care." Baby boomers are the forever young generation, or so it seemed. Facing the facts of aging can be tough for anyone. Nevertheless, no one has a greater vested interest in your long-term care needs than your family. If they must travel across the country to attend your holiday feast, how available will they be when you need assistance with the basic "activities of daily living"? Have you honestly come to grips with how you will pay for long-term care, let alone the logistics of such care?

On the other hand, Jeff Brown wrote a recent article in Forbes in which he decries the notion of a formal multi-generational "family meeting" to hash out all kinds of unpleasant financial and estate planning matters. Appropriately, the article is titled "No Money Talk At The Holiday Table, Please." Brown offers an alternative: his own indirect method of eliciting information and offering subtle, albeit unsolicited advice to family members on financial and legal matters.

Practically speaking, there is no better place to talk about important family financial and legal matters that when you are with family.

Maybe you held your family meeting already, somewhere in between turkey and football. If you did not, well, then there are more holidays to come.

Is it time to have a talk with your loved ones?

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