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Handling Family Finances: Answers from a Financial Advisor

By Bennett Whitlock, CRPC® Private Wealth Advisor

Have questions about your family finances? You are not alone. Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Q: What should I consider before switching to a Health Savings Account (HSA)?

A: This low-premium, high-deductible plan allows you to save money tax-free for health care expenses. A HSA can be a good option if your family doesn’t visit the doctor often. If you have small children or chronic conditions, doctor visits and health care costs can be unpredictable. Calculate the true amount of what you may spend annually before switching.

Q: How old should my children be to receive an allowance?

A: Begin teaching children about money as soon as they’re old enough to put coins in their piggy bank. Start by giving them small amounts for completing chores. Allow them to make decisions about what to purchase and encourage them to save for pricier “wants” by creating a chart to track their savings progress.

Q: My 16-year-old daughter doesn’t have much free time, but I think working part-time is important for teens. Should I encourage her to get a job?

A: Working part-time teaches young adults the value of money and helps them save for college and get a jump- start on their résumé. First, ask your daughter if she wants a job. If she wants extra spending money, she might voluntarily choose to give up an extracurricular activity in favor of a job.

Q: My sister has always been financially irresponsible and keeps asking me to loan her money. When should I cut her off?

A: Make your own family’s financial goals and stability your priority. If loaning money to your sister does not jeopardize your current—or future—financial situation and she really needs help, consider creating a written document listing how much you’ll lend to her, and under what terms, to clarify expectations.

Bennett Whitlock, CRPC®, is a private wealth advisor and managing director with Whitlock Wealth Management, a franchise of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Learn more at or call 703-492-7732. 

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