Let’s Talk About Bruno

Will Bohne |


Like many parents, I’ve been frequently regaled with the songs of Disney’s latest animated hit, “Encanto.” When I watched it with my daughters (for the first of countless times), I was surprised to see that underneath the bright colors and catchy sounds was a story that delved into serious subjects about family, values, and legacy. The push and pull between family dynamics and individuals with their own values, hopes and perspectives is something we can all relate to. Just like the Encanto that multiplies these challenges for the Madrigal family, wealth is a magnifying dynamic that can strengthen family foundations, or leave it fractured and broken. Much like the character Bruno, discussions about wealth and legacy can lead to discomfort and strife instead of finding common ground.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! So, let’s talk about Bruno. More specifically, how we communicate (or do not) about wealth. Wealth conversations can be an extremely uncomfortable subject for parents and children. We each have an emotional soup of life experiences, values, and expectations tied to our wealth and specific life stage. When you add family dynamics to that mix, there is potential for conflict. But there is also immense untapped opportunity to deepen your connections and create a lasting legacy. 

There are several techniques that I encourage families to use when approaching this subject, but the most important is to start with values and why those values are important to you! This can be as simple as sharing an important story that was formative to your values or finding a common value to explore together.  One of the most impactful ideas I share is bringing your family members into the conversation on charitable gifting.  You’ll learn a lot about the values of children and adult grandchildren when you empower them to choose charities with a percentage of your charitable allocation. They will also learn a lot about your values as they participate in the process.

Once you start this process, you will begin to discover shared values that you can build on with your family and take deeper steps to cement your legacy. You can start by sharing the details of your financial plan with your children. This can be a big step, but it is important for your kids (who someday may be making financial decisions for you) to understand your expectations for your wealth and the means you’ve prepared to achieve them. Too often, I see how damaging this disconnect can be when advising an unprepared son or daughter who is suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver or executor. If you have  difficulty with this step, it is a great time to bring in your wealth advisor to facilitate a discussion and share the plans that you have in place.

However, you choose to approach your family, just make sure that you do. I guarantee that your children already associate values with your wealth, so take the first step and help them connect with your own.  Your Embark Wealth Advisor is here to help your family start “talking about Bruno” instead of relegating legacy discussions to a forgotten corner.