Families gather around the Thanksgiving table to share tales from the year and have important conversations while everyone is together in the same room. However, this can also raise difficult financial situations and conflicts for those family members who are not on the same page financially.
Although it’s a good opportunity to address critical financial and estate planning issues during this time of the year, it can also be difficult if you don’t understand how to handle these financial conversations. The Thanksgiving table is not the right time to ask for a loan, to brag about how much money you have made or to have heated money talks about what will happen with your parents or your in-laws.
Conversations can all too easily go in uncomfortable directions. People might begin speaking about their overall financial health, their job or their recent purchases and this can cause challenges for everyone else sitting at the table. Unfortunately, even basic sharing can be perceived as a form of bragging which can necessitate conflict for no reason.
Avoid discussing any expensive purchases to avoid inflaming someone who is going through a difficult financial time. When another person is talking about their financial struggles, re-direct the topic with kindness if possible. Trying to be the one who offers solutions that center around that person having to take actions and modify their own behavior; this can come across as you telling them what to do. It’s a better idea to focus on sympathizing directly with them.
If you have specific advice giving you’d like to share with a person, save this for a one-on-one conversation. If you feel that it’s the appropriate time to discuss estate planning, you might want to organize a meeting for another day. Give people some time to gather their thoughts and any necessary documents that could be important for the process for broaching estate planning altogether. Once you have given people time to think things over and to re-evaluate things as they get closer to the year’s end, it will be easier to discuss estate planning.