Thanksgiving is very much about food and being grateful. And getting together with family and catching up. But what about money conversations?
As the whole family gathers around the dinner table, you’ll probably talk about a lot of different topics. Especially if you haven’t seen each other for awhile. While religion and politics should probably stay off the table, personal finance doesn’t have to.
When money-related conversations come up at the Thanksgiving dinner table, here’s how to (gracefully!) use the opportunity to share what you’ve learned on MindShift.money.
Realize some people may actually want to talk about money
You can make money conversations less awkward by not being awkward on your end.
You or another loved one may want to talk about personal finance. And that’s okay. Even if you’re not jumping straight to conquering debt or Financial Freedom, there may be an opening in the conversation. Maybe around an upcoming holiday sale or a milestone like graduating college or getting engaged.
The key is to be confident in what you say and not dance around the topic of money. Contribute, listen and allow the conversation to flow naturally. You likely have no idea what Money Stress the other person is experiencing, but something you say may help them start asking the right questions. And that’s your opportunity to share your experience!
Talk about short and long-term goals
Most people love to talk about themselves. And Thanksgiving is the perfect time to ask everyone to share their goals for the future. You can easily incorporate a money conversation by sharing your goal of Financial Freedom.
Recently, I hosted a family party, and while I was in the kitchen, I overheard my sister talking to my uncles about the importance of investing and setting up passive income streams.
The conversation wasn’t awkward. In fact, everyone was engaged and enjoying talking about money. I figured my uncles were likely interested because what my sister was saying had the potential to help them improve their lives and meet some of their own financial goals.
No one wants to be preached to or called out in a rude way when discussing money. So start the family conversation by sharing your goals. The segway into a fun chat about finance and money management is right there.
Share holiday savings strategies
This time of year, everyone’s mind is on the holiday season. So why not exchange ideas to lower your out of pocket spending. Since you’ve been automatically transferring holiday savings to a specific account all year, you know what you’re going to spend this holiday season. But you can still discover new ideas to maximize your spend to do a few more fun things.
See what your loved ones are doing to make the most out of their holiday budget and share your own strategies. This is a great time to pick someone’s brain who’s really good at saving money in a particular area.
I usually always go to my mom when looking for ways to stretch meals and save money on food for the whole family. And my sister is amazing at decorating. She knows how to score deals and DIY on beautiful home decor.
Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a laid-back conversation about budgeting and avoiding impulse purchases.
Play a money game
From touch football to board games, family games are a common tradition on Thanksgiving. One of the best ways to make Thanksgiving money conversations less awkward is to turn it into a game.
After the initial meal is wrapped up and dessert is on the horizon, clear off the table and propose playing a fun board game with a personal finance twist.
Games like CashFlow, Payday, Monopoly and Money Bag Coin Value are all great games to choose from. The best part is you can even involve the kids so they can learn about money and join in on the conversation as well.
My family loves playing the Game of Life. We often get into tasteful conversations about the importance of college, choosing a sustainable career, building wealth and even obtaining insurance.
When we played the game before becoming homeowners, I always joked that we needed homeowners insurance due to all the unexpected disasters. While the Game of Life is just a game, I definitely learned a lesson about Protecting Yourself. Obviously some of the events — whether your basement floods or your roof gets damaged by a storm — can actually happen. So when we were getting our mortgage, I made sure to look through our homeowner’s insurance with a fine-tooth comb and compare quotes.
Topics to Avoid
Sometimes, you do have to walk a fine line with the money topics you choose to discuss at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Here are a few awkward topics and situations you may want to avoid.
Discussing someone else’s money troubles
Gossip isn’t a healthy way to communicate especially on a day that promotes thankfulness. But if the person is present and sharing their own troubles, you don’t want to ignore their situation. Just be careful not to embarrass them by making their situation the focal point of discussion.
If someone just lost a job or has been struggling financially, offer grace and understanding. Later, you can talk with privately and offer suggestions and support — if they’re interested.
Family loans are almost never a good idea. I’d almost rather family members provide a monetary gift instead of a loan. Unpaid loans create tension and stress between family members (or friends, for that matter). Plus, discussing the situation is awkward anytime, let alone over a plate of turkey and stuffing.
Who’s going to provide long-term care for your parent(s)
If you’re worried about the care of your aging parent(s), this may be an issue you want to bring up privately with your siblings or other specific family members who play a role in helping.
Money conversations don’t have to be taboo
Money conversations don’t have to be taboo in your household or on holidays. Talking about the knowledge you’ve gained from MindShift.money with the people you love most is a valuable gift.
So what better time than when the whole family is together on Thanksgiving? This year, let your guard down and allow personal finance conversations to come up naturally!
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of MindShift.money.
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