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7 Financial Conversation Starters for Thanksgiving Table Talk

7 Financial Conversation Starters for Thanksgiving Table Talk

November 20, 2023

Thanksgiving is a special time when family members travel long distances, some from across the country, to be reminded why they moved so far away in the first place. Humor aside, Thanksgiving is a beautiful tradition for families to get together, catch up on each other’s lives, and toss the fad diet out the window for a day.

Everybody has a busy life with joys and concerns; however, one common theme that touches us all, regardless of your station in life and appetite for holiday food and desserts, is finances. Some family members are worried about how they will pay next month’s bills, and others are concerned about preserving their wealth through a volatile market, high taxes, and other unforeseen challenges. 

Just as we learn to cook Thanksgiving dishes by watching our parents and grandparents, the same can be true with finances. So, while you plan on making this year the most memorable Thanksgiving ever, get the conversation flowing in a financial direction. Remember, to avoid any family feuding, upset feelings, or unnecessary debate, keep the topics safe. Here are seven safe financial topics you can consider as financial conversation starters for Thanksgiving table talk:

1. Spending less and saving more

One of the big problems we have in society is that there is so much to buy. Our family and friends have all these accessories and toys, and we want them, too. The dilemma is that overspending is becoming a common problem in society today. According to a PYMNTS report, as of 2022, 76% of U.S. adults who make less than $50,000, 65.9% of those making $50,000 - $100,000, and 47.1% earning more than $100,000 live paycheck to paycheck. Those are staggering numbers.

As the family gathers in good spirits, this is a favorable time to discuss one initiative to cut back on spending that all family members can get behind. With Christmas on the horizon, many people out there cringe at the thought of draining their bank accounts by buying presents that will only end up crammed in someone’s closet. Instead of everyone buying each other gifts, suggest an alternative strategy. Family members pick names from a hat, and everyone gets one gift for the selected person. Keep the maximum gift price manageable, like $50. With this strategy, you can save a fortune instead of spending hundreds of dollars, and nobody will be left feeling like the Grinch.

2. Benefits of time-saving technology

Companies in all industries continue to invest in technological innovations, which help to reduce costs and create efficiency within their business models. Whether you are dealing with personal finances, those of your small business, or post-career retirement planning, utilizing and learning how to make technology work for you can potentially simplify your life, saving you time and money.

The finances you are working on are like the turkey and mashed potatoes at the Thanksgiving meal. You can eat them as is, although adding gravy enhances the flavor and helps reduce the chewing time, making the turkey easier to eat and saving you more time to catch the second half of the football game.

Technology is like the gravy when it comes to your finances. It enriches the experience while simplifying it. You can make it work without it; however, using it to your advantage will allow you to spend more time and energy on other things, and you may even save money in the process.

3. Investing tips and tricks

A casserole is often an assortment of ingredients compiled with ratios that create a wonderful and memorable flavor. What makes a casserole taste so good compared to one that isn’t are the ingredients used and their proportions. The same strategy goes for your investment portfolio. Carefully compiling a diverse investment portfolio with the help of a financial professional and ideas from family members is like savoring the flavor of a delicious casserole.

4. Reminder to review retirement accounts

Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness, and family members often pull out picture albums to reminisce. The elders will tell stories of the old world and the exploits of relatives immigrating to new countries with just the clothes on their backs and a few dollars in their pockets, starting businesses with no credit, no experience, and no money, and other traditions once practiced in a forgotten time in a different land.

At the table, guide the conversation to how the attention to detail used for genealogy can also be beneficial when reviewing your retirement accounts. The laws and regulations of retirement accounts continue to evolve annually, and beneficiaries may have to be updated due to death, divorce, incapacitation, or other unforeseen issues. Review your retirement accounts regularly and with a careful eye.

5. Managing RMD schedules

For Thanksgiving dinner, if you are the host, consider which family members engage with each other the most and put them together in the table seating chart. Managing your required minimum distribution (RMD) schedule is similar in that each account is different and, therefore, can be dealt with individually.

For example, if you have multiple IRA accounts, you can withdraw one combined RMD calculated from all the IRA accounts. However, if you have multiple 401(k) plans, you have to withdraw the RMD from each individual 401(k) account. Failing to manage your RMDs properly could leave you subject to the hefty IRS 50% penalty tax for coming short on your RMDs.

6. Simple tips for building and improving credit

It can’t be overstated the importance of maintaining “excellent” credit. Good credit is often insufficient to secure loans, low-interest payments, and financial independence. Unfortunately, young people often have to learn the hard way how critical and sometimes challenging managing your credit can be. Maintaining good credit takes hard work, attention to detail, and careful decision-making, like keeping the family dinner in relative harmony. While you are passing the potatoes, consider also passing along a helping of easy-to-digest credit tips to your younger family members.

 

7. Meeting with a financial professional

Creating a Thanksgiving dinner can become complex, just like your finances. Having a financial professional review your financial situation, investment, and retirement strategy is like having a chef to ensure you serve a Thanksgiving dinner that the kids will talk about when they are adults.

If discussing money during Thanksgiving makes you uncomfortable, consider scheduling an appointment with your financial professional, who can assist you in reviewing your financial situation and help to create a strategy for introducing financial conversation to your Thanksgiving table talk. When discussing safe topics, not only can the family benefit from each other’s collective knowledge and experience, but it could potentially lift some stress off their shoulders from worrying about their financial issues, and, who knows, it may even help keep indigestion at bay too. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Sources:

More than 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Here's what researchers say is to blame. - CBS News

Living Paycheck To Paycheck Statistics | Bankrate

 

Important Disclosures:

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.  If you are seeking investment advice or Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) details specific to your needs, we suggest you reach out to a financial professional for guidance.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by LPL Marketing Solutions.

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