POINTERS Making meetings work
Family meetings might not put everyone on the same page about family finances, but at least you'll all be in the same room. The following tips on conducting such meetings come from "Wealthy & amp; Wise: Secrets About Money" (John Wiley & amp; Sons), edited by Heidi Steiger, executive vice president of the wealth-management company Neuberger Berman.
To pass on family values such as work, education, community, integrity, respect and loyalty.
To communicate with the younger generations by opening up a dialogue about their ideas and intentions, and assessing their readiness to handle money.
To deal with a change or transition in family circumstances, such as the sale or acquisition of a business or the death of a family member.
To achieve an emotionally healthy transfer of wealth.
To overcome a conflict.
The "ground rules" for successful meetings that encourage participation and a healthy exchange of ideas include:
Keep an open mind.
Use conversations for discovery, not for making decisions.
Talk about family history.
Begin with what you agree on.
Allow enough time and decree that everyone must stay in the room.
Don't hesitate to order a "slowdown" if tempers begin to boil.
Speak for yourself, not others.