A little while ago, I blogged about a friend whose college-age daughter needed a summer job. He gave her one. One of her chores was to put the family financials into a software program. Not only did this get a time-consuming job off his hands, but it also served as a Baedeker for his daughter: Now she knows what her self-employed parents earn, what savings they have, where their investments are--in short, how they handle their money. And that has come back not to bite them but to provide a bonus.
The dad reports that, since he and his wife are in business together, they have a corporate American Express credit card, and having a corporate card means they can get extra cards. So when his children went off to college, they gave them Amex corporate cards to use in an emergency. "When they called home and needed something, the easiest thing to say was, use the American Express card," the dad says. "But that meant that when we had to figure out our taxes, we had to go through the Amex statement and subtract out the charges they had made." The latter was part of what his daughter did this summer. So when she called the other day in need of money for a legitimate online purchase, the dad told her, as he usually did, to use the Amex card. "But she didn't want to do it," he says. "She told me it makes a mess of the financial books. She asked for another card number."
She has, this dad concludes, "become the guardian of our trusts." That's a pretty good result from sharing the details of your financial data with your grown-up children.