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Personal Finance: Something to Talk About

Personal Finance: Something to Talk About

May 29, 2024

Personal finance, like life, is highly individualized. Since it is individualized, what works for one person may not be appropriate for another person. While this does not mean that we avoid talking about personal finance, it does mean we have an opportunity to frame the topic of personal finance in a way that invites intellectual exploration rather than immediate action.

Topics about personal finance that are common in social circles include finding the best prices on groceries, transitioning from renter to homeowner, managing expenses that come with transitions (like a new job, home ownership, a new baby, or creating a new business), and retirement plans available through employers or to those self-employed.

How can you initiate such a conversation among peers? Keep it LITE: Learn, Invite, Thank, and Exit. Following are points from a hypothetical conversation using the LITE approach.

LEARN whether your friends are interested in talking about personal finance. Open the conversation by talking about a personal finance success you’ve experienced then asking a question. For example, “These strawberries are delicious! You know, I found the best deal on strawberries at the Farmer’s Market. Have you been there?” If the conversation feels stilted or awkward, move away from talking about personal finance and onto another topic. If the conversation about personal finance seems to flow organically from that point, continue.

INVITE engagement into the conversation by asking for tips. For example, “I’ve been looking for great deals because I’m saving money for my first home. You mentioned that you own your home. What pointers do you have for a first-time home buyer?”

THANK your friends for their tips and consider which ones you may takeaway for consideration later. For example, “Thank you for sharing those tips. It’s helpful to know what I may expect from the experience of owning my first home. I appreciate your insight.”

EXIT the topic of personal finance by pivoting onto another conversation topic or offering to refresh your friend’s beverage with good humor and a smile. For example, “I’m heading to the bar for another glass. Would you like another drink?”

Summertime provides a variety of opportunities to gather with friends and meet new people. Make the most of summer gatherings with this LITE approach to conversations. Discover unexpected connections and watch your social circle blossom.

Wendolyn Forbes is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with Wealth Transition Finance, A Member of Advisory Services Network, LLC. Wendolyn is a fee-only financial planner and member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). For more information, please visit her website at www.wtf-asn.com.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP® (with flame design) in the US, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only. Advisory Services Network, LLC does not provide tax advice. The tax information contained herein is general and is not exhaustive by nature. Federal and state laws are complex and constantly changing. Consult your own legal or tax professional for information concerning your individual situation.


Originally published in the May 27, 2024 issue of Smoky Mountain News.