Money Talks

How to avoid awkward financial conversations during the holidays

The holidays are fast approaching, and that means three things: Visiting family, eating too much and avoiding awkward conversations. Whatever you celebrate — Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa — there’s a good chance at least once during those revelries you’ll be stuck in a conversation that has no good ending. Here are some ways to avoid/deal with those conversations that center on money in particular.

  • Let Good Things Be Good. If you’re in a great spot financially, there’s no need to bring that up to others. It might be tempting to discuss the new raise, excellent stock returns or sudden influx of cash, but you should hold back. The reason? You just never know what others are going through, so err on the side of caution. If your uncle just lost his job, hearing about your big raise is only going to make things awkward for him and you.
  • Listen, Listen, Listen. On the flip side of holding back from sharing excessively positive financial news, if someone shares some negative news, you don’t have to say anything. Yes, it’s true! Instead of giving advice or sharing your story, just listen to them. Sometimes people simply need to vent; so give them that space. As US News reports, if you truly have some words or wisdom that could help them, save it for a one-on-one conversation.
  • Don’t Take It. If a loved one offers you a business deal or a personal loan while at the dinner table, just say no. First of all, mixing money and family is usually asking for trouble. Secondly, something like this needs to be discussed in detail and in private. Especially since there’s a chance you’ve had a couple glasses of wine during dinner. Just like trying to help that loved one who disclosed some bad financial news, it’s a better idea to shift the deal-making conversations to a private time.
  • Chris O'Shea

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