Who is Your Alpha Child?

images-1The Allianz Life Insurance Company conducted a study they defined as “The American Legacies Study”. They gathered information by conducting over 2000 interviews with Baby Boomers and their parents. One of the findings their study revealed was the existence of the “Alpha Child.” This is the child that keeps the family connected, who is always the first to make sure that family gatherings occur on a consistent basis, and communicates often with his siblings and parents.

Take a look at your relationship with your own siblings. Who is the Alpha Child in your family? It may be you. Examine your relationship with your parents. If the above listed characteristics describe you, then it is most likely that you are that person. But don’t let your ego get in the way. Be objective in your evaluation of your relationship with your parents and your siblings’ relationship with them. If you are married, discuss it with your spouse and ask for his or her feedback.

It is valuable for you to identify who your Alpha Child is. Who is the child your other children respect? Who is the child that you ask for feedback? Who is the child that acts as a leader in the family?

Once you have identified your Alpha Child its important to have a conversation with him or her, preferably face to face. Share with her what your plans are and the preparations you have made for your retirement years. Discuss your long term care planning. What happens if you or your spouse need care? Will you stay in your home? Will you move? Who will take care of you?

Share your end of life planning with her. I suggest strongly that you fill out “The Five Wishes: available from www.agingwithdignity.org before you do that. It is an extremely valuable tool to clarify your end of life wishes. I call it a living will with soul.

Ask you Alpha Child if he or she will help you organize a family meeting to discuss all of your retirement plans and concerns with the whole family. This meeting will have a life changing impact on your relationship with your children. It is most likely that you have never discussed these issues with your family before. Send me an email at:  (bob@giftofcommunication.com )and I will forward to you “The Seven Steps to Have a Successful Family Meeting”

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Are You The Alpha Child?

Who is the “Alpha Child”?

The Allianz Life Insurance Company conducted a study they defined as “The American Legacies Study”. They gathered information by conducting over 2000 interviews with Baby Boomers and their parents. One of the findings their study revealed was the existence of the “Alpha Child.”  This is the child that keeps the family connected, who is always the first to make sure that family gatherings occur on a consistent basis, and communicates often with his siblings and parents. He or she is the child who the parents are most comfortable discussing money issues with. This is the person we want to organize and co-facilitate the Family Meeting.

The Alpha Child in your family may be you. Examine your relationship with your parents. If the above listed characteristics describe you, then it is most likely that you are that person. But don’t let your ego get in the way. Be objective in your evaluation of your relationship with your parents and your siblings’ relationship with them. If you are married, discuss it with your spouse and ask for his or her feedback.

Obviously if you are the only child, you may think that you don’t have a choice. But in some cases if you are the only child, your spouse may act in the capacity as the Alpha Child. Your parents may have more confidence in talking over issues with him or her than they do with you. After all you are their child and they may never give your opinions the same weight as your spouse or another person outside the family. Your husband/wife might be brilliant in your parents’ eyes. There is no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of this situation.

I am an only child and I have acted as my mom’s financial advisor since my dad passed away almost 10 years ago. But every time I give her an investment recommendation and it works out, she seems to remember that it was an idea my wife came up with. So whenever we need to discuss an important financial issue with her I discuss it with my wife first and she will often propose it to Mom. It has a much better chance of getting adopted than if I brought it up.