Thanksgiving Table Talk Taboos: Religion, Politics, and Money?
It’s one of those unofficial and unspoken rules of the Thanksgiving meal that’s about as traditional as having a turkey and pumpkin pie: don’t bring up politics, religion, or money during the meal!
Thanksgiving is about bringing families together and being grateful for one another, so this unspoken rule is really meant to keep the meal focused on gratitude, happiness, and the close bonds we share. In today’s climate, it’s very easy for a small mention of any one of these things to bring a cloud over the whole meal (not to mention, causing blood pressures to spike!).
However, when it comes to money, it’s not always a bad idea to bring it up—just maybe not during your meal! During the holiday season, we tend to gather together as a family from all generations, and we usually spend a few days together, so it can be a great time to bring up conversations about money that may need to happen. For example:
Topics if you are younger:
- Do we have enough money to start a family?
- Should we look at buying a house?
- How are we going to pay for college?
- What’s our student loan payback plan?
Topics if you’re midlife:
- Can we afford to change careers?
- Can we afford to start our own business?
- How do we help our aging parents?
If you’re a little older:
- Is it time to retire?
- What will we do in retirement?
- Should we downsize and move?
- Let’s talk to the family about our estate plan.
All these topics can be great to discuss amongst family members from every generation because many times, older generations have already gone through what the younger generations are currently experiencing and can offer advice. Also, older generations can use the younger and middle generations as sounding boards, especially if the decisions they have to make affect everyone.
Ultimately, you want Thanksgiving to be enjoyable for everyone, so if you already know that some of these topics can cause a lot of emotional pain or anger for anyone, don’t bring them up. Choose another time when it’s just you and the other person/people, and if it’s truly a traumatic subject, ensure you have professional help from counselors, financial advisors, or other professionals that need to be involved.
This Thanksgiving season, we hope you enjoy your meal, your family and friends, and the conversations!
Until next time, enjoy.
Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. Instead of being afraid of change, Gary is always looking at how technology will affect clients and bringing the best of it into the practice. Whether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.
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