The Tony Steuer Podcast

Get Ready! with Donna Bandelloni: The Value of Family Financial Meetings

June 26, 2020 Tony Steuer/Donna Bandelloni
The Tony Steuer Podcast
Get Ready! with Donna Bandelloni: The Value of Family Financial Meetings
Chapters
The Tony Steuer Podcast
Get Ready! with Donna Bandelloni: The Value of Family Financial Meetings
Jun 26, 2020
Tony Steuer/Donna Bandelloni

“Be educated about sources of information, because knowledge is power and then live within your means. That to me, goes hand in hand.” - Donna Bandelloni

In this episode of GET READY!, I spoke with Donna Bandelloni, who is an authority on Planned Giving. Donna and I discussed the value of having a family financial meeting and the importance of communication. We also covered the importance of introducing money issues to children along with the concept of philanthropy.

Bio: Donna’s super powers are communication and connecting people. Donna is a leader in the planned giving community and a frequent speaker on national planned giving webinars and at planned giving conferences across the country. Donna has just founded her new venture Genuine Giving. Donna is also a Senior Consultant at the Heaton Smith Group.  Donna has served as a director of gift planning for leading healthcare organizations and senior director of charitable gifts for world-leading financial institutions for more than 25 years.  Her capacity to lead and execute produced significant growth in gift planning programs for large healthcare foundations located in Northern California - the Lucille Packard Foundation for Children’s Health and the California Pacific Medical Center Foundation.  In addition, Donna held director positions at large financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch Trust, Wells Fargo Charitable Management, and Mellon Financial, and successfully expanded their charitable services to the nonprofit sector.  


Show Notes Transcript

“Be educated about sources of information, because knowledge is power and then live within your means. That to me, goes hand in hand.” - Donna Bandelloni

In this episode of GET READY!, I spoke with Donna Bandelloni, who is an authority on Planned Giving. Donna and I discussed the value of having a family financial meeting and the importance of communication. We also covered the importance of introducing money issues to children along with the concept of philanthropy.

Bio: Donna’s super powers are communication and connecting people. Donna is a leader in the planned giving community and a frequent speaker on national planned giving webinars and at planned giving conferences across the country. Donna has just founded her new venture Genuine Giving. Donna is also a Senior Consultant at the Heaton Smith Group.  Donna has served as a director of gift planning for leading healthcare organizations and senior director of charitable gifts for world-leading financial institutions for more than 25 years.  Her capacity to lead and execute produced significant growth in gift planning programs for large healthcare foundations located in Northern California - the Lucille Packard Foundation for Children’s Health and the California Pacific Medical Center Foundation.  In addition, Donna held director positions at large financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch Trust, Wells Fargo Charitable Management, and Mellon Financial, and successfully expanded their charitable services to the nonprofit sector.  


Speaker 1:

Welcome to the get ready with Tony Stewart podcast. Today.

Speaker 2:

I'm excited to be joined by Donna van baloney , somebody who I've known for a long time. Donna. Good morning. Thank you for joining me.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, Tony. I'm delighted to be here.

Speaker 2:

It's great to have you. Um, so just a couple of notes , uh, for our listeners to get ready. Podcast format is changing , uh, to cover each month , get ready financial calendar item, which is designed to help you stay financially prepared. Uh, this month action item is about having a family financial meeting. In other words, communicating with your spouse, significant other in your children, whether they're kids in your home or adults out on their own , um, communication is so important and that's why I'm so happy to have Donna on today. Let me tell you a little bit about Donna Donna super powers are communication and connecting people. And that's where I met. Donna is with her connecting people. Um, Don is a leader in the planned giving community and a frequent speaker at , uh , many national plan giving webinars and planned giving conferences , um, across the country assuming we have in person conferences. Um, so a couple more things about Donna. Uh, Donna has just founded her new venture, genuine giving. Uh, Donna also is serving as a senior consultant at the Hedon Smith group in Atlanta. Uh, Donna has served as the director of planned giving for leading healthcare organizations and senior director of charitable gifts for world-leading financial institutions for more than 25 years, her capacity to lead and execute produced significant growth and gift planning programs for large healthcare foundations located Northern California and the Lucile Packard foundation for children's health and the California Pacific medical center foundation. In addition, Donna held director positions at large financial institutions, such as Merrill Lynch, trust Wells Fargo, charitable management, and Mellon financial, and is successfully expanded their charitable services to the nonprofit center. Sadhana is a planned giving powerhouse Donna and so great to have you. I'm so honored to have you on, you've been a great friend and a mentor , uh, and uh, just learned so much. How are you doing today?

Speaker 1:

I'm doing great. Tony. I just want to say I've learned so much from you as well. So I feel honored to be asked to be here and I hope that I have something to share to your audience.

Speaker 2:

You shared you. Um, so can you tell us just a little bit about what you do and your journey so far?

Speaker 1:

So you've already given a great background of information to our audience, but , um, really what I've done is I've taken a look at all the varied experiences that led me to this role as a consultant, to be able to refine for our clients. And those clients would be non-profit entities, large and small, who are looking at , uh, increasing their planned gifts for those institutions in a variety of ways. And since I've led gift planning programs, I have a particular insight in how to grow and develop them and to work with donors in building lasting relationships for institutions. Um, but in , in my earlier career, working with financial institutions, it was really important for me to understand how best to serve clients individually with their financial planning, charitable gift planning and overall personal wealth management. Um, and so it is a pleasure now to be able to have conversations that are not just about finance, but what matters most to the individual donors and client relationships to these institutions. And that has to do with three parts that I focus on family financial and philanthropic values. Um, and I think it's particularly appropriate for your topic on family meetings.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well that , that's so important , um, to have that conversation with family members and to hit on that. And it's, it's about so much more , um, than finances . So many of us in the financial services area tend to focus on the financial service aspect rather than on the client and , um , what's important to them and what they want to achieve. Um, so why, why is it important? Why do you feel it's important for family members to communicate with each other about their financial affairs?

Speaker 1:

Oh, I think, I think it's really important to provide education and support and a safe place to have conversations around topics that may sometimes for each one of us have its own sensitivities and in building , uh , a relationship with family members to feel safe and comfortable and uh , show their vulnerabilities and knowledge and understanding of these topics is really critical to this success. Um, and starting in a family with children. I think the earlier you can start in having very basic conversations , um, that it will provide an openness and a gradual education based on their maturity and understanding of topics as well as an understanding of how parents can do their best to impart values as well as prepare their family members for the future , uh , in terms of financial management.

Speaker 2:

Well, that's great. So , uh , you know, I think you hit on an important point is people often think that, you know, kids are not ready to learn about money or they often don't talk to kids about money. Um, you know, when would you say is a good time to start talking to children about money?

Speaker 1:

Well, I think if you keep it simple and not discuss, you know, the actual dollars and cents of the family situation, but really focus on simple concepts, think about it. I think I, you know, personally learned as a child , uh, elementary school, you know, I remember a couple of important things. One, we used to have banking on envelopes, nickels , dimes quarters that we would on a weekly basis, have a banking envelope filled up with change that I would save from little tasks around the house or just asking my parents for a nickel or a quarter. And those envelopes would get banked in our local Waterbury savings bank. So there were two things, there was banking on the Lopes and there was milk money. And I remember learning about making change and , and having change available to me for those purposes. Um, and I think basic concepts that children can relate to make it easier for them to start to have a knowledge and understanding of concepts such as spending, you know, mom and dad may give you a quarter and of that quarter, maybe it's a dollar today, but in my age group, it was a quarter which was a lot of money at the time, 25, 50 cents, and a dollar was a big deal, but a part of each dollar that parents might give you that there is an option of either learning about best ways to spend, you know, what does that money go for? Uh , save maybe a portion of it. We want to save in this case, the banking envelopes was that example that I remember, and then also to think about giving and donating and , and teaching children a little bit more about if we have enough for ourselves, what about others and how can we make a difference with our dollars and cents? Um, but there are, you know, basic concepts you can start with that have more to do about your own family, it's heritage it's , uh , knowledge of, of what they've learned from their parents and grandparents. Um, and sometimes those traditions that are passed on are a great way to start conversations. But in answer to your question, I think the sooner, the better , uh, it doesn't have to be very involved conversations, but we're doing it in ways that are meaningful to the children based on their age. Um, and certainly at elementary, from age five to 18, you have a lot of maturity and understanding and growth in the , in the individual family members. But you want to look at the dynamics at the time, the health and ability to understand concepts and to build on that information as you share, but just those basic saved spend and give are really important.

Speaker 2:

Definitely. I would agree. I remember that as a kid, getting money for comic book and, you know, you know, thinking about what I want to do, do I want to save my money? Do I want to , uh , go all in and buy a candy bar or the comic book? You know , how do I spend the money, you know, with it , but it was with a little bit of guidance , um, from my parents. And I think that's the missing piece oftentimes is that we think , um, the kids are going to get financially educated somewhere. Uh, but it does start within the family , uh , financial education and , uh, you know, otherwise it's not going to happen. Uh, so unfortunately financial literacy is not a mandated part of our educational system. Um, I think that would make a difference, but that's a whole other subject. Um, so you know, one of the things you hit on is that the conversation changes as the kids grow older. Um , what do you see as some of the, you know , rough benchmarks , uh, where that happens and how does that happen?

Speaker 1:

Well, I think, you know, in college years, especially I think about how young adults are bombarded with information, you know, they go to college and , and they're hit by all the financial institutions who offer credit cards , uh, easily. And I have heard from many parents and in discussions with clients, as well as the reality of family members, I've observed a great deal over these years. And I've found that understanding, you know, assets and liabilities as concepts , as well as , um, you know, living within our means and , uh, realizing credit cards and debt and the ability to , um, to really understand budgeting and saving , uh, as well as, you know, this money doesn't come from free on a credit card, and it's not, you know, an automatic ATM that's endless, but rather it has its limitations and its expectations that if it's parents contributing to this money while they're in school, I think there needs to be a shared responsibility and accountability for how the funds are spent and saved.

Speaker 2:

Definitely. I would agree. I know I got into a little bit of trouble with a credit card, you know, in college is I thought this is great. I've got all this money. I'm really rich. You know , I take my friends out to dinner, you know, and everything, you know, fortunately the credit limit was really, you know , so I was able to manage the payments and eventually pay it off. And I got my first job, but yeah, you know, you're in college and you're not really thinking, you know, at that age, you're not thinking about long-term consequences. And I think that's a big part of it is , um , communicating with your college students said , uh, you know, you have to think beyond four years or five years , um , at that age

Speaker 1:

I was just going to say, I think the other thing is really helping these young adults understand the institutions that are part of the process from banking and savings, credit, establishing credit in the best possible ways as they are young adults , um, many college students like you and I am sure had part-time jobs. You know, I started at 15 while I was still in high school working on weekends and, you know, family run or, or whatever catering businesses that my dad introduced me to. But that money, when I brought it home, I had to start thinking about, okay, what am I going to do with it? How will it help support and save for school , uh, education, if parents can't a hundred percent fund your college education, then you need to think about taking responsibility for learning how best to save and invest to, to achieve your goals.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely. Well, and even budgeting, I know when I went to college is that , um, you know, even though I received , uh, you know, my parents paid for tuition and , uh , the house saying is that everything else, you know, I had to budget for, I had to make sure I had food. Um, um, you know, so some months, you know, until I really got the hang of it, you know, at the end of the month, there, there wasn't much T you know, typical college student and top ramen.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. Yeah. You have to really manage the ebb and flow of how the finances come in and you start to understand , um , but it's limited, right? And I guess parents guidance and conversations about, you know, you've heard from your parents money, doesn't grow on trees. Um, and I think, you know, those are our opportunities for family meetings to sit down and talk about, you know, here's what we're going to deposit into this account. It will serve you X number of months or, or a year, and you need to manage it accordingly and start to look at where does, where does the money go? Right. I'm sure you've told people or heard people who once they , uh, have a large amount of debt that they have to analyze exactly how much am I spending on each item. Then when you start to look at the receipts and it up , you start to make changes in your, in your spending habits. Um, so I think it's a , it's a real gradual learning and experience both positive and sometimes setbacks for individuals , uh, until they get a hang .

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, definitely. Yeah. Well, let's segue a little bit into , um, adult children , um, which is where I think you've spent, you know, a lot of your time is , um, how do you know adult children and parents start to have the financial conversation about, you know, the parents planning? How , how did they structure their communications and conversation?

Speaker 1:

Well, I think, you know, first I'll start by saying most adult parents, and especially as they get closer to retirement years or after the children's education is somewhat paid for, or they're helping maybe with graduate school or what have you, but overall, they start to think about retirement savings for themselves, and they want their kids to become more and more independent. Um, and it's an important conversation if in fact, these family members have a family business, or they have a conversation regarding, you know, what is meaningful to you. Each child may have a whole different set of goals and objectives, personalities, management, ideas of how they want to live their life , uh , how they want to work , uh , and so forth. So I think parents typically want to make sure as part of their goals on the financial side and family, you know, what will be, what will be their financial responsibility as these young adults get off into their world, where they marry have a two family income. Um, they want the best for their children is my experience overall, but many people, especially today , um, people don't want their kids to have too much either. So that there's some limits set and conversations about it is your responsibility to take over, you know, for your own individual family goals, for your desire to , um, pursue your career, as well as keep the responsibilities and learn more about savings, investing the whole concepts of owning a piece of real estate, you know, sharing more education is what I find , um , especially when it comes to debt, family, businesses, assets , um, versus just the ebb and flow of cash.

Speaker 2:

Definitely. Yeah, well that , that's a great point because the whole nature of the conversation does shift about what the emphasis is on towards assets rather than savings. Um, and then I think the other big question too, is where you, I , I think where you're focused on a lot is, you know, as you mentioned, parents are concerned about passing on too much money to their children and that planning. So when parents start doing, you know, they're sophisticated or any estate planning is, you know, how do they bring the kids into the conversation? And conversely, how do adult children start to bring up the conversation with their parents who are, you know , in their seventies and eighties, so that both generations understand find a wishes, adult children can start helping their parents to be on the lookout for elder financial abuse. I mean, how do you get into that conversation? Because there's, there's definitely a generation where they don't talk about money,

Speaker 1:

Right? And the generation that I, you know, my parents didn't talk a lot about money that really pushed me out to learn on my own. And actually part of my career transition, why I initially got into financial services was really to learn how to be financially independent myself. And as a woman, I realized that it was even more important for me , um, to be able to be responsible for myself to pursue career options that I could afford to invest in myself as well as my education and that the more independent that I could be, the more successful in my mind that was my mind . Uh, not everybody thinks that way, but I think it's important as , um, families are becoming more senior as to analyze, you know, how does this family want to be remembered, have that conversation with their children? Uh , what did , what are the takeaways that it's not about the dollars and cents it's really about the Valley and children learn very early on from their parents about their values, you know, where they put their emphasis on whether it's education, charitable giving , uh, an understanding of independence, family, business, leadership, mentoring, you know, there's just a whole wide array of various values , uh, to give back to society, you know, social capital versus just focusing on the individual, the me generation, right? But it's , uh, it's really important that children understand their parents to have goals as they prepare for retirement, that they want to maximize all the, all that they've done through their working years and career opportunities. Not only to make their children independent and educated, to survive the best that they can, but also to take care of themselves in retirement and , um, really make the most of what their assets are as they age, while engaging their children in conversations about what, what does this family stand for? How we want to be known? I think that's a really good question and it takes different kinds of activities coming together, whether it's at holidays, such as Thanksgiving has been used as an example for many families of, of wealth, as well as just normal families coming together over holidays, because kids are so transient these days with their careers cross country . I'm an example of that leaving Connecticut in my thirties and, and really having to be responsible later in life for my mom's healthcare . I mean, these are things I would've never thought about , uh , but it forced me to really become knowledgeable about how to take care of myself, but also to take care of my parents when they were really leaning on me for that guidance and direction. Um, especially , um, with health considerations, I think health is a big segment of what determines some of the conversations for family members even early on , um, how to take care of each other as well as themselves. So ,

Speaker 2:

Well, that's great. Well, you know, let me ask you one more question on that is, you know, how could adult children approach it with a parent? You know, who's a little bit reticent , um, to have that conversation , um, you know, where, you know, realistically, if that parent's approaching 90 is a, may need some help with their financial affairs , um, to make sure they're not a target of elder financial abuse or to understand their healthcare directors , or just to know where their will and trusts are so that they know what to do. Um , how do you approach that?

Speaker 1:

Well, a lot of parents there's, there are two sides of the coin. A lot of parents want to prepare their kids to understand if something happens to your father or I, here is what we know to be true here, where the documents are here, you know, leaving that roadmap of information because they realize more and more they're facing their mortality. And so it's important. Some parents want to not be a burden to their children, want them to be independent enough to enjoy life, to the best of their ability, as well as know how best to use the information they've prepared to make decisions regarding their health and wellbeing , as well as their, you know, their environment, their housing needs, et cetera. I mean, those there's so many questions. We could talk a whole podcast on just that, but , um, then there are other parents who are dependent on their children , uh, for their every move. Uh, and so it's a give and take depending on family dynamics and circumstances. But I would say my parents, especially my dad when he was ill , uh , really came to me and asked me to sit down with him to talk about and presented me a lot of information that I hadn't seen so that I could help, not only him and my mom , um , but things like inheritances from family members, how to prepare with , uh , medical and health information, insurances, estate planning, wills, and trusts, you know, and insurance, you know, looking at all these elements, what do we save and keep for later years? Or what do we remove now that we don't have the risk associated with these types of assets? Um, so there's lots of conversation. And if your parents are willing enough to share that , um, you're , you know, that's wonderful, not every family has that dynamic. Others might lean to corporate trustees and other types of family, office, or other types of structures, depending on the wealth to provide an infrastructure for those children to either be involved early on and continue to take on more and more responsibility. Uh, it all depends.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Well, I guess, you know, I think the minimum that parents can do or children can ask for it's just to know where documents are. Um, yeah, if the parents don't want to have the conversation and it is a rebellious, right. Um, you know, people have different levels of comfort about how much they want to share even with their children for a whole variety of reasons. And as you mentioned, we could definitely spend a whole hour talking about family psychology around money.

Speaker 1:

It's very complex. Yeah. Very complex, but very important to start early on , um, to create an environment that welcomes these conversations. And that's not always so easy, so you have to keep it more conceptual , uh, with activities that help define these concepts , uh, not specific to dollars and cents, but when it's time, parents will reveal those , uh , assets and liabilities so that their children have a better understanding of what their family goals are and how best to maximize the situation. Yeah,

Speaker 2:

Definitely. Well , um, so what's your , uh, this is a question I ask all my guests , uh , what's your number one tip on being financially prepared,

Speaker 1:

Be educated about that . Be educated about sources of information, because knowledge is power and then live within your means though . That, to me goes hand in hand.

Speaker 2:

That's so simple. And I that's, that's why I always tell people knowledge is power. I mean, that's just so important. Um, that's great. Thank you so much , um, for sharing this information , um, and your thoughts on family communication has been wonderful. So where can people learn more about you and what you're up to?

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you for asking that question. It's still evolving Tony. Um, right now I'm building , uh, my own , uh, consulting practice apart from heat and Smith. So I'm not ready to launch that yet. However, I have , uh , aligned with Heaton Smith because it is the closest way that I've identified my values match with an organization that puts its clients first that understands family financial and philanthropic values. And that's what guides me. So Heaton Smith group is the website or www dot Hayden Smith group. And if anyone wanted to email me on [email protected] and , uh , I look forward to any questions or ways in which I can continue to be a resource to you and to get ready.

Speaker 2:

Fantastic. Well, thank you, Donna. And , um, for our listeners , um, the , all those URLs and everything will be in the show notes along with , uh, Donna's , uh, LinkedIn , uh, profile , uh, link. So if you want to connect and reach out to Donna or just follow her and see where Donna's is speaking next step, I didn't carry to , to , uh, you know, to , uh , connect and , uh , follow Donna . So Donna, thank you very much again,

Speaker 1:

It's been my pleasure for sure. Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And thank you again for everybody, for listening to the, get ready with Tony Stewart podcast. Uh , please remember to subscribe until next time.