Are you worried about what you’ll talk about over Thanksgiving dinner this year? You probably should be. Not only has this been the most polarizing political year ever, but perennially sore subjects still lurk in the shadows: Are you really wearing that? Why aren’t you married yet? Did I tell you about my tooth implant?
Oy. This year, how about changing things up and talking about something calming and neutral: money? Admittedly, money isn’t the usual choice when you’re looking for pleasant dinner conversation. We are, in fact, programmed to avoid discussing finances at all costs. Yet, we have a lot to learn from each other – particularly among family and friends. And since it can be close to impossible to get everyone together around the table at any other time of the year, the holidays are a perfect opportunity to explore how money has shaped your family history, and how it’s shaping everyone’s lives now.
Questions to ponder:
- What is your family’s financial story? What were the major financial events that shaped your family’s fortunes? How has your story changed in recent years?
- Do the people who are ages 50+ feel prepared for the financial challenges they face now? What do they wish for? What do they fear? What would they do differently if they could start over at age 21 now?
- How are the family elders faring? Do they worry about managing their money as they age – or about losing control over it?
- What about young adults? How do they imagine they’ll traverse the next 40 years of adulthood? Will their financial journeys be different from their parents’?
- How are you creating a legacy, both in terms of knowledge and actual wealth?
- What would people like help with in relationship to managing money, achieving life goals, and aging with grace and dignity? Could innovation in financial services help solve these problems?
Talking about money isn’t something most families are good at – yet. But if we can begin mining our collective knowledge, just imagine how much smarter we all might be. In a year when so many topics of conversation seem too hot to handle, talking about money seems downright civilized. Let’s seize the moment and begin the dialogue.