How to talk money with your parents this holiday | Smart Change: Personal Finance

If your parents are not bothered by a situation, but you are, Goyer recommends using “I” statements.

“Never start anything with ‘You have to,'” Goyer says. “Say instead ‘I’m worried about’ or ‘I want to help you.’ Your role is to support them.”

Prepare to leave the ship

That support includes staying calm if your parents get angry, scared or sad. Your parents may be embarrassed about their financial situation, worried about the future, or resilient to the thought of needing help. Acknowledge these feelings even if you do not agree with their point of view, Goyer says.

“If they feel insecure, or they feel angry at the thought of a change – are afraid of the thought of a change – validate those feelings,” Goyer says. “Change is hard.”

But be prepared to drop the topic, at least for the time being, if tensions remain high.

“For some people, (discussing money) is fine, but for others, it will ruin the holiday,” Goyer says. “Maybe the holiday is when we stay and we make a plan to talk about it later.”

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