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Why one Collingwood financial manager thinks families should talk more about money

Meet the author at a book signing at Chapters in Barrie on March 24
Chris Clarke, a Collingwood resident and chartered professional accountant has just released a book on family wealth. Contributed photo

A Collingwood chartered professional accountant has written a book about family wealth, and she hopes it helps parents and children open up about money.

The book is called True Family Wealth: Love, Money and an Inspired Life.

“We don’t talk enough about it,” said author Chris Clarke, who has spent 30 years helping families manage their money. “Families can either be empowered or completely destroyed over money issues.”

According to Clarke, a family’s money issues aren’t necessarily related to poor financial planning or bad investment decisions, it comes down to philosophy. No matter what changes in the financial role, Clarke said there’s one truth that remains.

“The one thing that has not changed is that money is nothing more than a resource; a form of energy,” she said. “People have started to identify their self-esteem with how much money they have… It’s still simply just a resource, not an identity.”

She has included both philosophy and practical steps in her book. In the first half of her book, she delves into the philosophy of money and the idea of passing your experience, success and failure onto your children. She said the book is applicable to those with lots of wealth and those with very little.

“If you dig deep, the core reasons for a lot of [financial] struggles is belief systems,” she said.

“It’s all about undoing those limiting beliefs.”

For example, Clarke said common limiting beliefs are that money is bad or harmful, having lots of money is only for the very special or the most intelligent people on the planet, debt is to be avoided at all costs.

“It’s what we choose to believe about [money] that creates our experience with it,” she said.

The second half of the book is practical steps families can take to have real and meaningful conversations about their money, and about the decisions they’ve made up to this point.

Clarke uses the metaphor of a well with the parents standing at the top, representing some level of financial stability, and the child in the bottom of the well staring up at them – perhaps having just finished school.

The parents can throw the child a rope, but the child will struggle to climb it, and could end up bloody and angry once at the top. The parents could build an elevator to pull the child to the top, but they won’t have taken any steps to get there. Clarke recommends parents give their children a ladder, representing financial support and structure and access, but the child builds financial muscle on the way to the top.

This is Clarke’s first book, she says it’s 30 years of experience in 300 pages.

Clarke will be signing copies of her book at Chapters in Barrie on March 24 from noon to 4 p.m.

You can buy a copy at the signing, or visit her website for more information and reviews.

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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