During the year, the holidays are often one of the few times when families get together. This makes the holidays themselves a gift. When you’re excited to see your grandparents, a cousin you haven’t seen in a long time, or a sibling who just got back from college, you might not want to talk about money among all the many things there are to catch up on, but you should consider it. This holiday season, use conversations about money to bring people of different generations together.
Creating a Space for Shared Financial Wisdom
Advice on money can look different for each generation, and just because you are related doesn’t mean you all know the same things about money. Encourage open conversations where everyone in the family, no matter what age, can talk about their money journey at a level that feels comfortable to them. Everybody has a unique story to tell, and they should feel free to tell it. People should share their knowledge, whether it’s about how to make a budget or how to get back on track after a bad investment. Making a place for families to share their money-saving tips over the holidays helps build a foundation for collaborative learning, which is something we want to see more of. The way people think about money changes over time. What worked in the past might not work as well now, but it can still be useful. Many generations have had different experiences and points of view. By bringing these together, you can learn about investments, money management, and financial strategies that have stood the test of time or how to deal with new problems.
The Entertaining Evolution of Financial Practices
Looking at how money habits have changed over time is both interesting and educational. With all the technology we have now, most people in 2023 couldn’t imagine making a budget with pen and paper or only being able to deposit or transfer money at the bank. Discuss the entertaining evolution of financial practices within the family. Each generation holds lessons that connect the past with the present, from handwritten budgets to digital savings. The current generation just might find that some of the tried-and-true methods are still useful today. The most important parts of managing money haven’t changed much, even with all the new apps and technology. Putting money away for a rainy day and watching how much you spend are tried-and-true ways to handle your money. In this high-tech world of finance, it turns out that some old-school ways of handling money are still pretty useful and worth sharing!
Lessons from Financial Success and Setbacks
Tell stories about both good and bad money decisions. Most families keep their money matters very private. This may seem like the best idea at the time, but it keeps us from sharing a balanced view of the good and bad times with money. When people talk about their money, it breaks the silence around them and gives others a more realistic view of the different financial paths they take. People don’t always give us honest and unbiased financial advice, especially when it’s online. Bring attention to the lessons learned from smart investments and the strength gained by getting through tough financial times. This honesty helps to calm down the often intimidating world of finance and gives useful advice based on personal experience.
Encouraging a Culture of Continuous Learning
No matter if you talk about money as a family or not, the younger people in your family are watching how you handle it. They are listening to how you talk about how you will spend your money when it’s time to pay your bills, how you talk to yourself about how well you manage your money, and how you fix money problems you make. Rather than sitting on the sidelines, encourage the exchange of financial tips and tricks across generations. Consider a family-wide commitment to ongoing financial education—a discussion that can go beyond the holidays. This initiative could take the form of organizing regular family meetings or workshops where members can share their financial goals, challenges, and effective strategies.
Passing Down a Legacy of Financial Understanding
The holiday season lasts roughly 8 weeks throughout the year, and then most families go back to living their individual lives. As the gathering starts to wind down, reflect on the wealth of knowledge shared during this time. You might have taught your brother, who just had a baby, how important it is to start investing early and in small amounts for his child. Or, you might have shown your little cousin a better, easier way to pay off her credit card debt and talk to her creditors. These are not always the go-to conversations during the holidays, but maybe we can start to change. Stress that this isn’t a one-time talk but the beginning of a long-term conversation that will build a family legacy one holiday at a time. \
Let’s open a different kind of gift this holiday season—one that goes beyond material things and adds to the lasting value of family wisdom. The table becomes a space for valuable conversations, making this season not just a time of celebration but also a cornerstone for financial understanding that spans generations.