At Thanksgiving dinner, avoid politics — and discuss these 5 timely financial questions instead

Don’t be mad at Thanksgiving dinner. Get tips on how to navigate inflation.

The holiday season is over, so maybe it’s time to put the politics aside — especially if you have family members from opposite sides of the political aisle at the dinner table. The Democrats held control of the Senate, while the Republicans controlled the House of Representatives. And Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, resigned as Speaker of the House on Thursday after two decades. But there are other issues, more urgent to debate than politics.

Understandably, it will be chaotic in a divided Congress – whether there are Republicans, Democrats or both sitting around the table. But there are many other financial issues to worry about. Inflation reached 7.7% in October on an annual basis, down from 8.2% in the previous month. Meanwhile, food inflation rose by 10.9%. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates six times through 2022, and the 30-year mortgage rate is down to 7%.

Is this holiday season a time to cut back on gifts and splurge on a new TV? 166.3 million people plan to shop in person and online between Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s nearly 8 million more people than last year’s forecast for the day after Thanksgiving. Two-thirds of the estimated 115 million Thanksgiving shoppers plan to do so in person, up slightly from 64%.

Evan Potash, a wealth management consultant at the insurance company TIAA, said it might be a good time to put some household issues on the table. These include: “Ask parents what they want to do with their money in the future, and make sure their estate plans are documented. [including] the proposed payment schedule for the next legacy year, and the benefits of the fundraiser payment.”

Pumpkin soup and dessert can be a lot to top off. But it’s certainly a good idea to stay away from the discussion of inheritance – it can be a way to ensure that the potatoes and the sauce are ruined, especially if your siblings have a bad history. For those looking to brush up on their finances over Thanksgiving dinner, take the MarketWatch Financial Literacy Quiz. And you could do worse than addressing these 5 timely turkey questions:

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-Quentin Fottrell and Andrew Keshner

How can I save money on my grocery bill?

This year’s Thanksgiving dinner is expected to be 20% more expensive than last year’s because most of the ingredients – everything from pumpkin pie mix and whipped cream to frozen peas and frozen pie crust – have seen a price increase. You may also see smaller plates on the table because some wealthy hosts have cut money to save money. Consider buying regular brands, cutting down on restaurant and junk food, and shopping at cheaper outlets.

Most families can use good strategies to inflation proof their food. While most Americans look for deals and buy in bulk to cut costs, others are getting more creative, switching to vegetarian “meat” instead of turkey. Take a page from this Harrisburg, Pa. mom’s playbook. who started experimenting with recipes for less than $5. In fact, discount mealtimes have turned into regular events that have been enjoyed by families for generations.

– Zoe Han

The dip is passing. Should I buy the tip too?

Older families who are closer to retirement may complain — with some justification — about their 401(k). After all, younger family members have more time before retirement, and can weather the peaks and valleys of the stock market, which has produced disappointing returns so far. 2022. The Dow Jones Industrial Index DJIA,
is down 7.4% so far this year, according to the Nasdaq COMP,
is off 25.4% and the S&P 500 SPX,
changed to +15.6%. So far, so frustrating.

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As millions of Americans count losses on their cryptocurrency investments – including those burned by the loss of cryptocurrency exchange FTXSome risky family members may be tempted to bypass the stock market. Take a lesson from Nick Maggiulli, author of the blog “Of Dollars and Data.” He said, “You can’t beat the average dollar price of oil, even if you were God.” And they give you these charts to prove it.

-Quentin Fottrell

What are the smart ways to grow my savings?

The personal savings rate — personal savings as a percentage of disposable income, or the portion of income left over after taxes and expenses — fell to 3.3% in the quarter. third from 3.4% in the previous quarter, the government said last month. Instant changes to boost your personal cash flow: automate your checking account plans with high-interest savings accounts, and consider a good 401(k) plan with company match, plus affordable investment options and low fees.

Reduce monthly recurring expenses. Do you want Netflix NFLX,
Paramount + PARA,
Peacock CMCSA,
TCM, Criterion, Disney+ DIS,
and all the rest? Or can you do without a few of them for a while? Make paying off high-interest debt a priority; monitor expenses; and if you need help paying off debt, check out nonprofit organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling for credit counseling companies.

-Quentin Fottrell

How often should I come into the office?

The back office debate continues, and it’s bound to spark a heated debate at Thanksgiving dinner. Tesla-Founder TSLA,
Elon Musk recently told Twitter employees to physically return to work, or consider “resigning.” Employers’ demands may not be so strong elsewhere, but the question still revolves around productivity, relations with workers and supervisors and job security because they are all related to remote work, personal work five days a week or a hybrid mix.

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Of course, be sensitive to others who may not have the luxury of a hybrid schedule. A very selective discussion of the work done in white. An estimated 92 million people can work remotely for at least part of their jobs, according to McKinsey & Co. But these researchers estimate that there are also 66 million workers who cannot work remotely. So don’t forget to ask relatives who have their own side jobs how they deal with the cost of gas and cars.

-Andrew Cashner

Is now a good time to look for another job?

No matter what industry you’re in, it may be more difficult to get out of marching orders because of a sluggish economy or, worse, a recession in 2023. If you have job security, think twice to move because of a situation where you can live together. or knowledge will pass away. It is true that workers often jump to raise their wages. But tech companies – from Twitter to Meta META,
– laid off thousands of workers in recent weeks. It can be a wonderful sign of what is to come.

Given the economic outlook, workers may have limited options, Anuj Nayar, chief financial officer at LendingClub, warned last month. “With unexpected cost of living pressures to come down in the near future, living paycheck to paycheck is becoming the norm,” Nayar said. “Many are pessimistic about the possibility of increasing their wages through job transfers, and some households will be more vulnerable to changes in labor market conditions.”

-Quentin Fottrell


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