He might be fictional, mean, and green, but The Grinch can also be a relatable figure during the holiday season when spirits are high (and holiday spending is higher). Personal finance is a triggering topic for many families. Festive gatherings—intended to bring people together—can quickly become the backdrop for Grinchy behavior when money enters the conversation. But with some creative questions (and mindful boundary-setting), finance doesn’t have to be a polarizing subject.
Here are six conversation starters you can safely steer towards if you don’t want your great uncle or next-door neighbor giving you the side-eye during dinner.
1. Financial Wins
Did someone in the family receive a promotion at work or a scholarship in 2023? Did you pay off your car loan or celebrate your child’s lucrative lemonade stand profits? It’s easy to associate finance with stressful periods in our life, but we should also acknowledge our positive money milestones (even the small ones).
2. Gift Gab
Americans, on average, spend around $998 on gifts and holiday-related purchases. Keep the focus on meaningful gifting versus big-ticket item comparisons. “What is the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?” or “What is the funniest gift you’ve ever given?” are fun conversation starters.
The holidays are an ideal time to take inventory of your helpers and mentors. Who offered their support in 2023 during a financial hardship? How did someone in your family exhibit resourcefulness when it came to solving a money-related hurdle? Consider how you feel when your helpful gestures are acknowledged and pay it forward.
4. Lessons Learned
Are there grandparents visiting this season? Newsflash: they weren’t always grandparents. Ask them what their landscape looked like when they were new homeowners (or new parents). What financial advice would they have imparted to their younger selves? And could you benefit from their wisdom in the present?
5. Cool Tools
63% of smartphone users have at least one financial app. Ask your family what resources they rely on for budgeting, investments, and savings. From kid-friendly debit cards to apps that bundle spare change into savings, financial tools are streamlining the way people plan.
6. New Year's Resolutions
With 2024 quickly approaching, spend a little time talking about your financial goalposts. Maybe this will be the year you lean into the hunt for a home. Or trim frivolous expenses so you can begin budgeting for that trip to Portugal. There is power in putting your intentions out there, even if you haven’t mapped all the groundwork.
Our partner, GreenPath Financial Fitness is a trusted national nonprofit financial counseling agency which helps people navigate debt, budgeting and financial challenges for more than 60 years. Their certified trained counselors will look at your entire financial picture and help make a plan tailored for your situation.
This information is brought to you by our partner, GreenPath Financial Wellness