How to have a family meeting

Your impending retirement will be a major life change not only for you, but for your entire family.

In our experience, involving the whole family before Day 1 of retirement, helps everyone communicate their expectations to one another. Often, the best way to get everyone on the same page is to call a family meeting.

To some, ‘family meeting’ can sound ominous and foreboding, as if there is something horrible – or, at least, serious – to discuss. ¬†And, while retirement can be a serious matter in terms of life significance, it should be approached as a positive and fun family development.

Here are some tips on how to conduct a successful meeting with your brood:

  1. Call the meeting at a time that’s convenient and relaxing for everyone. (5:15 pm on a Monday might not be a great idea for working families, for instance.)
  2. Have the meeting in a location where all family members can focus and stay on subject yet still enjoy a celebratory mood. Small families can gather in a restaurant; larger families can order in and meet in the rec room.
  3. Leave the younger kids at home.
  4. Open the meeting with a positive statement: Good news! Dad is retiring!
  5. Get specific about family concerns, compromises and setting boundaries. (Ex: The daughter of a newly-retired couple was worried when her parents announced they were moving to her city. She asked that they not move within a 1-1/2 mile radius of her home to which they gladly complied.)
  6. Address financial concerns that come up in a general way, but use the meeting to plan a second session with your financial planner and the appropriate adult children or heirs.
  7. Share your plan. Let your family members know how you intend to spend your time.
  8. Brainstorm!! Your family may have great ideas that you haven’t considered. Be open to them. Listen and ask for resources.

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