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Pandemic Sparked Family Conversations We All Should Have

on November 24, 2021

(NewsUSA) - And you thought nothing good came out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a new survey from financial services firm Edward Jones, a third of all U.S. adults say that the trying stretch we've been through actually sparked conversations about their end-of-life plans and preferences with close family members. For 44.5 million of them, it was the first time they'd ever broached such subjects as finances, health and legal plans.

And yet, the nationally representative survey of 2,020 adults ages 18 and older, conducted in partnership with Age Wave and The Harris Poll, also found that 60 percent of respondents cited various "roadblocks" that made initiating those discussions harder when it specifically came to financial matters. Among them:

  • The desire to avoid family conflicts
  • Not wanting to burden family members with their finances
  • Generally being too uncomfortable with the whole subject

So, yes, Alison Carnie, a principal at Edward Jones, nails it when she describes the pandemic as "a real wake-up call for many Americans."

"Our research shows that 71 percent of Americans think the pandemic brought their family closer together," she says. "And that closeness and extended quality time together, on top of the frightening realities of the pandemic, have likely made the need for these types of conversations clearer."

Perhaps the most surprising thing the survey revealed also had to do with finances: Not only did 53 million Americans wish their parents and in-laws did a better job managing their money, but it was millennials -- those between the ages of 25 and 40 years old -- who were the most concerned about their parents' solvency.

And why were they so worried, you ask? Perhaps because they feared their parents and in-laws would become financially dependent on them one day. More than two in five U.S. adults and over half of Millennials cited this concern in the survey.

Carnie and other experts say the three most essential end-of-life documents people should have are a will, a health care directive/living will, and a durable power of attorney. Alas, only 19 percent of those age 50 and older have all three, the survey found. (Fifty-one percent of that same age group also don't have any plans to manage their long-term care needs either.)

Edward Jones has a wealth of free online tools to help increase your financial savviness, no matter what stage of life you're in. And any of the firm's trusted local financial advisors can help you strategize for the future and, yes, facilitate all those hard conversations you may or may not already have started during the pandemic.

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