Your First Counselling Session


The decision to start counselling is big and takes a lot of bravery. EVERY individual goes through difficult times at one point in their life and struggles with the act of reaching out for help. As a Social Worker, I believe counselling is beneficial for ALL individuals. Unfortunately, I find the service often has a negative label attached to it.  I can’t stress enough the importance of having that certain someone to talk things through with whether it’s with a sibling, parent or friend. Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to the ones we love in fear of judgement, shame and guilt. Having a therapist to talk with allows for a safe place to share while helping to identify your strengths, challenges and goals. Asking for help is probably one of the most difficult things we can do as individuals. Seeking out counselling is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength!

Let me tell you what your first session with a therapeutic counselor is like.  It is definitely normal to feel overwhelmed or unsure about your first session. You might be talking about things you’ve never said out loud before. Maybe you’re unsure what to expect. Here are some things to know about your first appointment:


1)      Your first counseling session is called the intake (or screening). Your therapist will be doing a lot of information-gathering, which can sometimes feel overwhelming. During my intake sessions, I focus not only on what has brought you into my office, but also on the things that are going well for you – supportive family and friends, talents, passions, etc. These things play a big part in your life.

2)      Everyone’s favorite thing, paperwork! You will be filling out some forms about your background and personal information.  Your therapist can help you with this if you have any trouble.  Next your therapist will go over a document called the “informed consent”, which covers what you can expect in counseling – everything from your therapist’s background, specialties, and credentials, to session fees and confidentiality. It is very important to have an understanding of this document, so be sure to ask questions if anything is confusing!

3)      The majority of the intake (or first) session will be like an interview. Questions range from childhood experiences all the way up to how you have been feeling most recently. Depending on your situation, you might take some written questionnaires to help your therapist get an even better idea of how best to help you.

4)      Toward the end of the session, or even at the start of your second session, you and your therapist will start to come up with a few goals. These are the things you would like to focus on in counselling. Try visualizing how your life will look if counselling is successful. How will you feel? What will have changed?

At Family Service PEI we’re just people experiencing challenges like you. We’re a group of people that are helping other people. Our backgrounds range from social work, counselling, business, accounting, psychology, sociology, education and much more. Our team strives to help individuals succeed in this big thing we call life. If you’re interested in booking an appointment with one of our therapeutic counsellors or just looking for more information about our services, please contact our office to discuss setting up your first appointment. We would love to hear from you!

All the best,

Alex Walsh BA, BSW, RSW

Outreach Education Specialist

Family Service PEI





Hello!  My name is Nora McCarthy-Joyce and I am the new Executive Director of Family Service PEI.  I am eager to use my skills in the advancement of providing Island families with services to enhance their daily lives.  I have over 15 years experience working for families in schools, community organizations, universities and government advisory groups and have a passion for helping others become their “best selves”.  I believe that no investment is more important than investing in families!


As Spring turns into Summer here in Prince Edward Island, our children will be eager to finish up the school year and transition into their summer vacation.  This transition is not always an easy one for kids.  As they move away from the routines of school and are thrown into the freedom that summer vacation offers, many kids find it challenging and may become under-stimulated and complain that they are bored.


There are many things that could help to make the transition easier for kids.  Here are some ideas that could help children adjust from their school schedule (and provide fun activities for the family too)!


Create a Summer Calendar


Children get excited about sitting down with parents or guardians and creating a fun list of things to do!  Let your children brainstorm all sorts of activities they would like to do in order to have the best summer possible.  Create a list of all the ideas your family comes up with.  Now you can start penciling activities into your calendar and planning out a summer to remember.  This gives children something to look forward to while creating family memories to last a lifetime.


Organize Educational Activities


It is important that children have learning opportunities throughout the summer to prevent summer learning loss.  There are lots of ways to maintain skills throughout the summer.  For example, teachers often offer reading materials or other practice activities for students to complete over the summer break.  It is your job as parent to make sure your student completes the assigned task.  You can make it fun by creating rewards together for each completed assignment.  If no work was assigned from their teacher, you can make a fun and educational trip to your local library.  They often offer free reading and craft programs that children can attend, in addition to taking home books, videos, and other great literacy materials!

Stay In Touch With Friends


Staying social with friends is very important to children over the summer.  Help your children stay in touch by planning for fun with other parents or events.  Summer barbeques, a trip to a local park, or taking part in a community celebration is a great way to do this – it can even be added to your calendar of fun!  Strengthening friendships over the summer will help ease kids back into the upcoming school year with confidence!


I hope you will find these tips useful as our weather gets warmer and the school year comes to a close.  Wishing you a all a wonderful summer this year filled with many memories and lots of fun!







To Lend Or Not To Lend? 4 Things To Consider

LendMoneyBy: Ellan Dickieson, Family Service PEI

We have all been asked to lend money. It may have been $5, $500, or even $5000. Chances are, the person doing the asking viewed you as someone they could trust and turn to in a time of need.

Adult children, grandchildren or even friends may be coming to you to lend money. They might be purchasing a car, going to school or need a new appliance for their home. It might just be for weekly groceries, gas for the car, school supplies or to buy someone a gift. Helping others can make us feel good about ourselves and can be extremely rewarding, but if you are considering lending money you must always remember to put yourself first.

1) Do Your Research

If someone has approached you to lend them money, get as many details as possible. Regardless of the amount, the person should be able to provide you with the information that is necessary for you to consider a loan. Give yourself 24-48 hours to think about it. Some extra time will help you to gain confidence to form an answer. Be sure that you only lend what you can afford to live without and also consider the impact your lending decision will make on other family members or friends.

2) Don’t Be Afraid To Say No

If you have decided that now is not the best time for you to lend money, then you must stand your ground. Be firm and concise as you explain that you are not in a position to help out at this given time. People might assume that you have money to spare, but make it known that it acts as an emergency fund to protect you against unexpected expenses.

3) Help In Other Ways

With the life skills that you have, could lend a hand for someone in different way? Perhaps reviewing their finances or finding ways for them to earn extra income. Maybe you can provide them with services like babysitting, home cooked meals or drives to work. For an upcoming birthday or holiday, consider giving a cash gift this year.

4) Get Details When Saying Yes

If you do decide to lend a large sum of money, you should discuss all of the terms including: the amount being loaned, interest rate and repayment schedule. The key thing to remember is to write it all down! A personal loan agreement form can be helpful. Having it on paper will help avoid any confusion in the future.

In most cases, it is hard to say no but your financial stability is just as important as anyone else’s. Learn from the experience. Teach the person who has asked for a loan about self-sufficiency and independence. Both of you will feel better about your decision in the long-run through one another’s strength and support about financial matters.

For more information about lending and giving money visit: www.It’


Trina O'Brian Leggott, Chief Librarian at the Confederation Centre Library receives the "It's Your Right" toolkits in March 2015.

Trina O’Brian Leggott, Chief Librarian at the Confederation Centre Library receives the “It’s Your Right” toolkits in March 2015.

Family Service PEI (FSPEI) is pleased to announce the It’s Your Right- Protecting Yourself Financially As You Age toolkit is now available through the PEI Public Library service.

Over the past year FSPEI has worked with PEI seniors to create a toolkit that addresses the financial needs of the PEI aging population. The toolkit is designed around 8 core topics:  Who can you trust; Lending, giving, donating; Having a conversation about money; Scam and Frauds; Tips and safeguards; Planning for the future; Financial abuse; and Getting help.

“When you create such a resource, the questions is always, how do you get in the hands of as many people as possible in a cost effective manner?” Says Ellan Dickieson, Education & Outreach Specialist with FSPEI. 

 Although the toolkit is fully hosted on the Internet, FSPEI understands that not everyone has access to, or is comfortable retrieving the information online. Many people would prefer to have the hard copy to read.

 This has been made possible through the PEI Public Library Service, which now has numerous copies which will be on display in public libraries available for loan. 

“Having the toolkit in our public libraries will be beneficial to those living in smaller communities around the province, especially seniors,” said Minister of Tourism and Culture Robert Henderson. “The project is relatively new and some senior populations may not be aware of the toolkit and how it can help improve financial literacy. This especially useful for seniors who cannot access the digital toolkit online.”  

The It’s Your Right project is unique in the sense that it is designed to educate and empower the senior themselves, encouraging them to utilize available resources to take a pro-active approach to protecting themselves financially as they age. Although designed primarily for seniors, this toolkit contains information which is relevant to all Islanders, young and old alike.

FSPEI encourages all seniors and Islanders to take advantage of the information provided through this toolkit by visiting their local library, attending a training session, or visiting

 “Learning is a life long process, and so is managing money,“ says Dickieson.

Family Service PEI is a local not-for profit, charitable organization, offering therapeutic counselling and credit counselling services to all Islanders. The organization is an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada. This project was originally made possible through the Government of Canada New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Wanted: Co-Location Partnership

sharing_0In this day of rising costs, decreasing stability of funding, and movement towards greater efficiencies we are seeking a partner with which to co-locate our services in Summerside.

In that office we currently have 3 employees – 1 who is full time, and 2 who are part time (2 – 3 days per week). Yet, we have an abundance of space – 3 private offices; a waiting room; and a kitchen/storage area.

We are very happy with our current property management company. However, we have a need to reduce our overhead costs. We are willing to move to another location, or work with our current landlord to expand/reconfigure our space to accommodate a partner agency.

We see the benefits of doing so as:

  • Shared/reduced overhead costs
  •  More efficient use of resources
  • Shared common space(s)
  • Possible shared reception position(we currently don’t have any)
  • Cross promotion of services and/or greater visibility
  • Creation of synergy as a result of partnership initiative(s)

However, there are also some challenges:

  •  The need to protect the confidentiality of clients
  •  Finding a partner organization that ‘fits’ well with our services
  •  Developing a strong partnership agreement that works for both agencies

We are willing to work with anyone who is interested in formally partnering in this way. We feel that if there is interest and commitment, solutions can be found to any and all barriers to making this work.

If you are interested, please contact Denise Lockhart, Executive Director, via email: or phone: 902-892-2441 ext. 3 or 902-436-9171.

We’re Hiring! Master of Social Work Therapist

Employment Opportunity: Part-time contract position, Charlottetown, PEI

Family Service PEI, an Island-based, non-profit family service agency, is recruiting an enthusiastic, experienced professional to join our team in our Charlottetown office.

We currently require a Master of Social Work Therapist in order to meet the needs of clients presenting for service who have private insurance coverage that is limited to this type expertise.

This Therapist will be required to work flex hours, on an as-demand basis. Current demand indicates carrying a caseload of up to 5 clients at a time, but there may also be times with 0 clients. There is room for growth in demand for the Therapist who is self motivated and driven to grow their practice. The full scope of duties is as follows:

  • Provision of professional therapeutic counselling services to children, adults, couples and families utilizing a variety of client-centered treatment models
  • Provision of screening, clinical assessment, case planning, case coordination, direct service, consultation, evaluation and referral services to clients
  • Prioritizing and effectively managing caseload expectations
  • Utilizing various computer programs to conduct work tasks
  • Maintaining appropriate client records and other related files and performing other case-related administrative tasks in a comprehensive, up-to-date manner


  • Master’s Degree in Social Work with current and ongoing registration with a regulating body
  • Professional social work experience including Therapeutic counselling experience
  • A valid driver’s license and access to a reliable vehicle,
  • A good work and attendance record,
  •  Current and ongoing acceptable criminal record checks

The successful applicant must be willing to sign a conflict of interest agreement prohibiting the provision of competing services outside their hours of work with FSPEI.

Remuneration is based on a ‘per client’ basis.

No phone calls please. Any inquires regarding the position may be sent via email to the address below.

Please submit your resume and letter of application by 4:30 PM April 17, 2015 to:   

Family Service PEI, 106 – 155 Belvedere Ave; Charlottetown, PE, C1A 2Y9 Fax: 902-892-4998, Email:

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those under consideration will be contacted.

Building Better Relationships

IGS-00075550-001By: Maureen Croken, Family Service PEI

We know that relationships are important and contribute to our well being .We also  know that having a good support system in our life is one of the determinants of good health, and in particular good mental health. How do we achieve this?  We learn skills early on in our family, school and community that inform us how to interact with others. Sometimes however to improve the quality of our relationships we need to improve these skills and there are many resources available to us in the form of books, lectures, blogs, and therapists to name a few. Some skills that will be helpful are communication skills, listening skills, problem solving skills and mindfulness skills. Learning these skills takes work and practice and for many of us is an ongoing process.

We are all unique but also similar in that we have a need to have a connection with others, to belong and ideally to have acceptance by others of our most authentic self. In view of this we need to establish relationships with others and more importantly maintain them. There are some who say our resilience is rooted in our ability to form close relationships.

Relationships can range from deep friendships to more superficial acquaintances. Both play a role in our life and the latter, in some cases, may lead to a deeper friendship.

Establishing Relationships:

Taking risks:

We do need to remember it does take two people to establish a relationship. Individuals have different needs and interests at different stages of the life cycle. A relationship may not work out because of time, because of other commitments and priorities or lack of common interests. It is important to remember, that in most situations it has nothing to do with you. This work of connecting with others can cause anxiety, in some cases fear and for others it is remarkably easy and natural. We need to over come our fear of rejection, a common fear for many of us.

We need to accept that our attempts at establishing relationships will not always work out; in fact we need to plan on it. For example, you think you might like to be a friend with a certain person and for example, arrange to have lunch. You soon realize this is going to be a long lunch .Your lunch partner is talking about sports or some other topic in which you absolutely have no interest .They have no interest in what you have to say. Another scenario could be completely different. You have lots on common and lunch is over before you know it. You are surprized when your lunch partner does not want to schedule lunch again. That may have nothing to do with you. Your lunch partner may be overwhelmed with other commitments and responsibilities.

Be Yourself:

Being yourself gives others a chance to see if there is compatibility and if they have anything in common with you. At the same time, pace the level of self-disclosure…too much too soon can scare people away. Have you ever met someone who disclosed their life history without even asking you, your name?


You meet people sharing common interests. You need to identify your interests and be able to discuss them with others, such as reading, cooking, gardening, sports, bird watching, just to name a few. If you do not have any interests you need to develop some. This may involve trying many different things until you find something you love to do. It is fun to share with others and this becomes a win win situation.

Social Activities   

You are more likely to meet people if you attend events and activities. Some people are fearful of attending some event on their own, yet others see it as an opportunity to meet someone. In fact, many people travel on their own for this reason.

Social Media

There is great potential for connecting with others through social media. You have to use the same judgement and caution as you do in the offline world.

Maintaining and Improving Relationships

Know Yourself

There needs to be a balance between healthy relationships and feeling secure and satisfied with ourselves. Are you aware of your values, beliefs, interests and feelings? Are you able to say no to something makes you feel uncomfortable? Do you sometimes go along with a request and then feel resentful? Are you able to take time for yourself and know that you deserve it? The better you feel about yourself, the easier it will be to care for others.

Give and take

Recognize what is important to the other. This involves being there for the other as well as your expectation that they be there for you. Relationships are a two way street. Give importance to the needs of the other. Develop the skill of both giving and receiving emotional support.

Learn to Listen.

Do you ever find when some one is talking you are waiting for your turn to talk, and tell your own story or you may interrupt without hearing what was actually said. Most of us do this at some time and we miss out. You may need to practice this skill of focusing on what the other person is saying. This becomes even more difficult when the topic triggers negative or uncomfortable feelings within. For example, imagine you are discussing the subjects of vaccines with someone and they have a strong opinion that is different than yours. You are convinced that they are wrong and shut down before they have had a chance to state their position.


Be realistic about what to expect. When we have a relationship with someone, it usually comes with a set of expectations. Keep in mind that we all have our own habits, personalities, beliefs, values and experiences. Your definition of a friend or friendship may be different than that of another individual.  Many of us expect our friends to be mind readers and know what we want. We are disappointed when our friend or friends fail to meet our expectations. Be clear about what you want. For example, you may want your friend to be available by text, email or phone more often then they would like or are able. Check with your friend what works for them. You may need to adjust your expectations or come up with some kind of compromise.

In conclusion building better relationship takes work, practice of specific skills and involves risks. Your life will be richer and more meaningful. As mentioned previously, there are many resources available to assist you in this process.

10 Ways I Am Paying Down My Debt Faster- And You Can Too


Ellan vacationing in Newfoundland.

By: Ellan Dickieson, Family Service PEI

Do you ever imagine what your life would be like debt free? I know I certainly do! How many times have I thought, “If I just had $20,000”?

Paying down debt is hard work; it takes patience, perseverance, discipline and intelligence. As someone who is working very hard to pay off debt (most of which comes from a graduate degree obtained while living in a big city) I want to share some tips that have worked for me. It is my hope that my honesty will help you.

That being said, I realize that there really isn’t any one “best way” that works perfectly for everyone, and what worked for me may not be applicable to you. Hopefully within my ten suggestions you will be able to consider a few. The more of these you can apply, the faster you will get out of debt.

1. Suck It Up and Go Work

I realize I am starting harshly, but any amount of money is better than none! When I moved home I was under the impression I had the education to obtain a well paying government job. To say the least, it didn’t pan out. It took me 10 months to get a job in my field. In the meantime, I went to work for $12 an hour, working 12-hour night shifts in a home for the elderly. Although I loved the residents and I cherish my time spent with them, it was not a job that matched my qualifications. At times I was embarrassed to even tell people where my graduate degree had gotten me, but at the end of the day that pay cheque sure looked a lot better than nothing! You have to find a way to generate income (legally)- even if it is taking a job you are over qualified for.

2. Prioritize Your Debt: Pay Off Your Most Expensive Debts First

Upon my return home I had credit card debt and three sources of student loan debt, all with varying interest rates. I prioritized these debts based on interest rate. I chose the debt that was charging me the most interest (credit card 20%) and focused my extra payments on paying that one off first, while continuing to make minimum payments on the others. Once my first, most expensive debt was paid off I started to focus on the next most expensive debt (Federal student loan 5.5% interest rate).

I will continue this method until each of my debts is paid off, with the Provincial student loan, sitting at 0% interest rate, being last as it is the least expensive. This strategy can help get you out of debt quickly, and you will feel encouraged as you knock off one debt at a time.

3. Pay More Than the Minimum

Once you have prioritized how you are going to repay your debts, make sure that you always pay more than your minimum payments. If you only make your minimum payments each month you will be running on a treadmill; it can take forever to pay off your balance.  If you want to pay off your balance quickly, pay as much extra as you can afford. Even an extra $50 each month will help. I spent a lot of time using financial calculators to see how quickly I could get my debts paid down. I would suggest you do the same.

4. Spend Less Than You Plan to Spend

Like most young professionals, I wanted to get my own place, decorate it nicely, travel, shop, dine out…the list goes on and on. The harsh reality is that most of us have wishes and wants that are bigger than our pay cheques. Many people get into debt and stay in debt because they tend to buy what they want, not what they need. Instead of my own place, I settled for moving in with someone else. Not only did this save me a ton of money on rent, but I also didn’t have to furnish or decorate the place. Although I don’t have a place to call “my own” I do have new friendships that will last me a lifetime. Try to think about what you could do without. Sometimes living without can be a blessing in disguise.

5. Buy a Quality Used Car Rather than a New One

To be honest, some of the worst debt I see is vehicle debt. The reason being, when you purchase a new vehicle the value decreases the minute you drive off the lot, and if you are having difficulty keeping up with the payments your options for getting rid of the debt are limited. You can save yourself thousands of dollars if you buy a quality used car rather than a new one. I got lucky; my elderly neighbor was selling her vehicle and 2 years later, knock on wood, it hasn’t cost me a cent. I cannot begin to describe how nice it is not to have to make a car payment every month!

If you live in an urban area you may be able to forfeit a vehicle altogether, or cut back to a 1 vehicle household. Not only will you be saving money, you will be saving the environment and increasing your activity by walking or biking!

6. Create a Spending Plan & Track Your Spending

You should have an idea of how you plan to spend your money. I prefer to look at how much money I take in every month, and how much I think I will spend. I simply write down all my known fixed monthly expenses (rent, car insurance, debt payments) and then estimate my fluctuating expenses (gas, groceries, entertainment). The key here is to make sure that I am spending less than I earn. The other key is to see how much I have leftover, and decide what I want to do with it; pay extra on debts, save for emergencies, a vacation, or all three.

Planning is great- but saying and doing are two different things. That is why you need to track your spending. (Insert blank look here). I get it; it’s not exactly something to jump up and down about. However, doing this can save you almost as much money as working a part time job.

I don’t track my spending all the time; that would just be torturous for me. To keep my money mind happy, I track my spending about 2-3 months a year. This allows me to see if my spending is in line with my budget. Do I really spend $200 a month on gas and $200 on groceries?

I prefer to use an app on my phone, however a notepad can work just as well. Be sure to adjust your spending plan based on your tracking results. Should your personal circumstances change (new job, living arrangements, baby) be sure to track at that time.

7. Save on Food

I don’t cut out coupons, make meal plans, read the flyers regularly or grocery shop at Mom’s house (not saying I haven’t or won’t again someday). I do cook food at home and try to avoid eating out for convenience. I don’t buy a coffee in the morning. I make big pots of soup and chili and put them in the freezer. I go to Costco and stock up on the necessities, and I share/split bulk items with others. I pick up the flyer when I walk into the store and do tend to buy things that are on sale.

There are numerous ways to save on food, simply visit Pinterest. Some require a little effort; some require a lot of effort. Find a happy medium that works for you. I don’t expect to see you on the next episode of Extreme Couponing.

8. Get a Second Job and Pay Down Your Debt Aggressively

I often get asked why I would want to work a second job. My answer: Because I can, and someday I may not be able to, or won’t want to.

If you have the time and ability, taking on more hours, or getting a second job could be your key to financial success. I teach fitness classes as my second job. It rocks! There are far greater benefits than simply the pay: I get to help people, I get paid to workout, I meet people, I get a free gym membership…the list goes on. Do you have a hobby that you could turn it into cash? This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you can make it work, you could be debt free faster.

9. Get Creative with Vacations

I know I should be telling you to completely cut vacations, but nobody wants to do that, including me. So instead, I encourage you to vacation on a budget. For me, this looked like adding pleasure to work trips. I was fortunate to get to travel to Ottawa, St. John’s and Vancouver for work in the last few years. Each time I tacked on extra days and was able to visit friends/family and tour the area. I also suggest vacationing where you have friends/family you can stay with, as accommodation can often be one of the biggest expenses. I have also chosen to take many smaller vacations in the Maritimes, close to home, which usually involve the less expensive option of camping. It is amazing how many great vacations are waiting in your own backyard!

10. Find Free Money

Yes, there is such thing as free money! Are there grants that you can apply for, whether it is to do renovations to your house, or to pay down your student debt? What costs would your employer be willing to cover? This may include your work gear, cellphone bill, travel expenses, professional fees/dues or first aid training. Would they be willing to contribute to a retirement savings plan? Some employers will agree to match your contributions up to a certain amount. All of these things are what I call- free money. You MUST take advantage of all the free money you can get!

As mentioned, what is working for me may not work for you. A good first step is to meet with a Credit Counsellor. A Credit Counsellor will be able to review your financial situation and provide you with additional options to help you get out of debt faster. This may include a consolidation loan, refinancing your mortgage or a debt repayment plan, amongst others. At the end of the day what is important is that you feel in control of your debt and you have a plan for getting it paid down as quickly as possible.





Debt Warning Signs- Is It Time To Reach Out For Help?


It is often our human nature to wait until we are backed into a corner to reach out for help. Call it denial or whatever you want, we frequently try and navigate difficult situations on our own. How do you know when you may need help managing your money and debts?

There are some definite warning signs, which may indicate that you need assistance with your debts. These warning signs can include:

  1. difficulty paying bills on time
  2. receiving collection calls or past due notices
  3. living in your overdraft or line of credit
  4. losing sleep worrying about debts
  5. spending more than your income allows
  6. not paying credit cards in full each month
  7. impulsive spending due to financial worries
  8. hiding spending or debts from a partner
  9. allowing bills to stack up because you can’t pay them
  10. a decline by your financial institution to consolidate your debts
  11. no budget or spending plan in place
  12. feelings of hopelessness that you’ll never get out of debt

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing some of these warning signs please know that there is help available. Our Credit Counsellors can provide you with confidential, non-judgmental coaching about your situation for free. As a Non-profit Credit Counselling service, we can lay out all of your options for you and then let you chose what you think is best. Why not take advantage of a free service and get yourself back on the right path!


Talking About Money- Why It’s Important & What To Cover

images-3By: Ellan Dickieson, Family Service PEI

Jenny and William have 3 adult children. Her sons Carl and Gary live close by and her daughter Nancy will be coming home from Ottawa for a visit next week. Jenny has suggested to her husband William that they sit down with all 3 kids while Nancy is home, to talk about their financial situation and future. William brushes her off, saying that it is not necessary and everything is under control.   

Talking about finances can be difficult, and many people, like William, would prefer to avoid such conversations altogether for a variety of reasons.

  • We have money, property and papers scattered everywhere…I don’t even know where to start.
  • We’ve already worked things out with our attorney.
  • We don’t want to feel pressured by our friends/ family to make decisions.
  • We are very private; we didn’t talk about our finances when we were young, and we don’t want to open up now.
  • Our children have their own life to deal with; they don’t have time for this.
  • We’re lousy with money. Besides I’m pretty sure my sister will handle this.   

A lack of communication and planning can be costly to your family or friends. The best way to prevent financial challenges is to make a plan when you are physically healthy and still living in your home. It is much easier to plan ahead, than to react to a sudden event or crisis that forces you (or someone else) to make decisions quickly.   

At the end of the day, what is really at stake is the opportunity for you to communicate your financial wishes, and get help to make those wishes come true. By communicating your wishes early on, you are:

  • Making it easier for your friends and family to help you with financial issues in the future.
  • Making sure everyone understands your wishes and desires, eliminating confusion.
  • Creating a support network with whom you can talk to about concerns, ask questions, or get advice from.

When you think about initiating a conversation make a list of what topics you do and do not want to cover. Don’t feel obligated to discuss all information if you are not comfortable doing so. If at anytime you are feeling pressured, confused, or uncomfortable, ask to resume the conversation at a later date.   

Things to cover in a financial conversation may include:

  • Money – income, savings, investments
  • Property – assets
  • Liabilities – debts
  • Housing – cost of living
  • Health Care – cost of private care
  • Legacy – gifts, bequests
  • Legal Documents – power of attorney, will   

Financial conversations of this type are important regardless of age. People should always ensure at least one person is aware of their financial situation and their wishes in the event of a major and sudden event which would dictate the need for someone to make decisions on their behalf.   

For more information on having a conversation about money visit: