Morgan Stanley
  • Women Financial Advisor Forum
  • Aug 12, 2020

The Two "M" Words: Money and Millennials – Family Dialogue

Financial Advisor Lori Sackler opens up about the need for family dialogues and the issues each generation faces when it comes to money.

Why is it that parents don’t share more with their children about their financial affairs? Why are children afraid to bring up the topic, even as they see their parents aging and slowing down, despite still engaged in meaningful activities? As parents approach the later phase of their lives, as health concerns start to emerge, and as financial obligations for their care sky rocket, it’s more important than ever for millennials to be aware of the responsibilities coming their way – and for parents to engage in meaningful discussions about money.

The answer is complicated and the reasons are varied. Suffice to say the “Money Talk” is not the easiest conversation to have with your children. However, I highly recommend that you figure out your particular situation and decide what topics need to be addressed, the conversations that need to take place, and how to best approach them. Your family’s future could depend on it.

Money Matters: Create a Dialogue

Based on my 20 plus years as a Financial Advisor, I offer an easy to help families overcome the taboo topic of money and open a dialogue about the pressing issues that they face with their loved ones who will ultimately be impacted.

Let’s start with the first step: Identifying the major life transition you are facing

As a millennial, it may be college debt or purchasing your first home and starting a family of your own. As a baby boomer, it could be retirement and figuring out how much to spend. Or is it giving to your kids or sharing it with your community? Maybe you need to shift responsibilities as your health declines? There are countless questions and decisions people of all ages encounter throughout their lives, and wealth management is at the root of them all.

Each generation is dealing with change and facing a difficult, often overwhelming, life transition and each transition affects your finances and your family members on some level. It is critical to be clear about what it is you are facing and the topics that you need to address. By creating a game plan and communicating with the family members who will be impacted, your lives can change for the better.

The statistics on successful wealth transfers between generations and its connection with communication is not particularly positive. As Vic Preisser highlights in his book, Preparing Heirs, 70% of wealth transfers fail and the main reason is a breakdown in communication and trust.  Preparing heirs and engaging the next generation does not need to be difficult. With a strategic plan and plenty of conversation and help from third parties (which we will discuss in an upcoming blog), there is potential for you to successfully get through every transition. And from my experience, millennials are more open and ready to have that financial conversation with parents than you may realize.

In the next blog in this series, we will discuss the factors interfering with your dialogue, so you can get started in overcoming the roadblocks and get ready for the next chapter of your life.


Lori has designed her practice to help clients keep up with the pace of change in their lives, have time to reflect and satisfy security, lifestyle and legacy concerns. With her team and the professionals at Morgan Stanley, she acts as a personal CFO for her clients. The Sackler Group chooses to work with a limited number of clients for whom they can have a meaningful impact.

Lori has the unusual distinction of holding three designations: CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, CERTIFIED INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT ANALYST®, and FAMILY WEALTH DIRECTOR. An established thought leader, Lori has published numerous articles and books, including “The M Word: The Money Talk Every Family Needs to Have” and “The M Word Journal: How to Have the Money Talk.” She also created and hosted a popular radio program in New York City.

Lori earned her BA with Distinction from the University of Michigan and holds an MS in Marketing and Finance from the University of Texas. She is also an accredited (non-practicing) CPA and is a member of the NJ Society of Certified Public Accountants. Morgan Stanley honored Lori with appointments to the exclusive Regional and National Financial Advisor Councils, and named her an Alternative Investments Director. In 2017, Forbes Magazine named Lori one of the Top 200 Women Wealth Advisors in the U.S., and then chose her as one of the Best-in-State Wealth Advisors in the U.S. in 2018.*

* The criteria for these awards do not include factors relating to investment performance. Neither Morgan Stanley Smith Barney nor its Financial Advisors pay a fee in exchange for the rating.

This material does not provide individually tailored investment advice.  It has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it.  The strategies and/or investments discussed in this material may not be appropriate for all investors.  Morgan Stanley Wealth Management recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a Financial Advisor.  The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.

The opinions expressed by the authors are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Morgan Stanley.