Like it or not we have reached the end of the year already! The season of office parties, holiday parties, over eating and belts loosened up a notch or two. What do we do at these parties and dinners? We eat and talk. Talk and eat. Generally there is so much eating it is a struggle to avoid talking with your mouth full! Ah but manners must be maintained! In that vein, here are 4 money topics to avoid at holiday gatherings and family dinners.
- Political contributions. Shamelessly, I really stretched for that one! But it needs to be said every year and especially this year. We are here for a good time and it is a fact that bringing up political views will likely tick off 50% of the people and 100% of our “crazy” uncles. Even when you are in the company of like-minded individuals, you are still taking a big chance. Don’t guess just save it for another time.
- Big purchases. Did you get a great deal on ocean front property? Did you just buy the car of your dreams? You are doing great financially. Super! You should be happy about it but don’t bring up specifics like large purchases and a bulging bank account. Everyone else will just think your bragging. What about that large donation to the Sisters of the Poor, you say? Hey, a humble brag is still a brag! If you’re still bursting to talk about your great month-long vacation, let me help you put the reviews of each great hotel you visited on ice. Once you let the cat out of the bag about your hot new car or lavish vacation, “crazy” uncle or Chuck from accounting will put 2 and 2 together and ask you for a small loan of $5000. Or worse, he will ask you to become an investor in one of his pyramid schemes. Best to talk about the basketball game.
- Money problems. Maybe you aren’t making any big purchases. In fact, you’ve had a rough year and are struggling to keep the lights on and a roof over your head. Don’t start spilling your guts out over the delicious food and drink! No matter how you phrase it, disclosing financial difficulties at a party sounds like complaining. Sure you can talk about your situation with friends and family but not over dinner or at a party. Enjoy the (hopefully) free food and have those discussions at an appropriate time. Go to a nonprofit credit counseling agency for free help with your finances. Then you can gush about the steps you’ve taken to get back on the right track!
- Other people’s money. Don’t ask people what they paid for a large purchase. It’s rude and too personal. It is okay to discuss the price of gasoline and common goods but don’t start inquiring about what they paid for a house. It feels like your prying and makes everyone uncomfortable.
This year when you find yourself sipping a drink at a party or around a large dinner table don’t be that guy or gal who makes everyone uncomfortable bragging or whining about money. So what do I talk about? Do talk about sports, fashion, your work and current events. Those conversation topics are light and fun and keeps the eye rolling to a minimum.
For a good time at your holiday gatherings, avoid all conversation topics related to money and politics.