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

Don’t go crazy at Thanksgiving dinner. Get tips on how to navigate inflation.

The midterms are over, so maybe it’s time to stop the political talk — especially if your dinner table is composed of family members from opposite sides of the political aisle. The Democrats retained control of the Senate, while the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives. And Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, resigned as Speaker of the House on Thursday after twenty years. But there are other issues, more urgent to discuss than politics.

We understand that people will be blown away by a divided Congress – whether there are Republicans, Democrats or both sitting around the table or not. But there are many other financial matters to be concerned about. Inflation hit 7.7% in October year on year, down from 8.2% the previous month. Food inflation, meanwhile, was 10.9%. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates six times so far in 2022, and the 30-year mortgage rate will jump to 7%.

Is it time to cut back on gifts and splurging on new TVs this holiday season? According to the National Retail Federation, 166.3 million people plan to shop in person and online between Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday. This is almost 8 million people more than last year’s projections for the days after Thanksgiving. Two-thirds of the estimated 115 million Thanksgiving shoppers plan to do so in person, which is slightly higher than 64%.

Evan Potash, senior wealth management consultant at insurance company TIAA, says it may be a good time to put some outstanding domestic issues on the table. These include: “Ask parents what they want to do with their money in the future, and make sure a solid estate plan is documented [including] the suggested payment calendar for future inherited annuities, and the benefits of annuity payments over lump sum collection.”

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This can be a lot to bring between pumpkin soup and dessert. But it would certainly be a good idea to avoid talking about inheritance – this can be one way to guarantee a bust-up on potatoes and gravy, especially if your siblings have an acrimonious history. For those who want to brush up on their finances during Thanksgiving dinner, take the MarketWatch Financial Literacy Quiz. And you could do worse than to discuss these 5 timely questions on the turkey:

-Quentin Fottrell and Andrew Keshner

How can I save money on my food bill?

Expect this year’s Thanksgiving meal to be 20% more expensive than last year as most of the ingredients — everything from pumpkin pie mix and cream to -rolls for frozen peas and frozen pie crusts — saw an increase in prices. You can also see less side dishes on the table as some cash strapped hosts have cut costs to save money. Consider buying generic brands, cutting back on restaurant meals and buying non-essentials, and shopping at cheap supermarkets.

Most families can use some neat tricks to prove inflation their meals. While the majority of Americans look for deals and buy in bulk to cut costs, others are getting more creative, switching to vegetarian “meatloaf” instead of turkey. Take a page from the book of this mother-daughter duo in Harrisburg, Pa. who started experimenting with recipes under $5. In fact, their discount cooking sessions turned into a regular event that the family filmed for posterity.

-Zoe Han

Pass the dip. Should I also buy the tip?

Older family members who are closer to retirement may be groaning – with some justification – about a 401(k). After all, younger family members have more time before retirement, and can afford to weather the peaks and valleys of the stock market, which has delivered depressing returns so far in 2022. The Dow Jones Industrial Index DJIA,
-0.02%
is down 7.4% so far this year, while the Nasdaq COMP,
-0.35%
is off 25.4% and the S&P 500 SPX,
-0.31%
decreased by 15.6%. So far, so depressing.

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As millions of Americans count their losses on their cryptocurrency investments — including those burned by the failure of cryptocurrency exchange FTXsome risk-taking family members may be tempted to jump on the stock market. Take a lesson from Nick Maggiulli, author of the blog “Of Dollars and Data.” He says, “Dip buying can’t beat dollar cost averaging, even if you were God.” And he gives you these charts to prove it.

-Quentin Fottrell

What are smart ways to boost my savings?

The personal savings rate – personal savings as a percentage of disposable income, or the share of income left after paying taxes and spending money – fell to 3.3% in the third quarter from 3.4% in – the previous quarter, the government said last month. Some immediate changes to boost your own cash flow: automate your checking accounts into high-interest savings accounts, and think about a good 401(k) plan with a company match, along with low cost investment options and low fees.

Reduce your monthly recurring expenses. You need Netflix NFLX,
-3.51%,
Paramount+ PARA,
+1.49%,
Peacock CMCSA,
+0.82%,
HBO Max WBD,
+0.46%,
TCM, Criterion, Disney+ DIS,
-2.66%,
and all the rest? Or can you do without a few of them for a while? Prioritize the payment of high interest debt; keep track of expenditure; and if you need help paying off debts look for a non-profit organization like the National Credit Counseling Foundation over for-profit debt settlement companies.

-Quentin Fottrell

How often should I come into the office?

The back-to-the-office debate continues, and it’s bound to cause some lively debate at Thanksgiving dinner. Tesla-founder TSLA,
-2.01%
Elon Musk recently told Twitter staff to physically return to work, or consider their resignation accepted. Employer demands may not be as strong elsewhere, but questions still swirl about productivity, labor-management relations and job security as they all have relating to remote work, five-day-a-week in-person work or a hybrid combination.

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Of course, be sensitive to others who may not have the luxury of a hybrid schedule. It is a debate largely linked to white collar work. It is estimated that 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 show up for work remotely. So be sure to ask relatives with strictly personal jobs how they are dealing with gas prices and commutes.

-Andrew Cashner

Is this a good time to look for another job?

Whatever your industry, it may become more difficult to avoid being given your marching orders due to a slowing economy or, worse, a recession in 2023. If you have job security, think twice about moving because of a work situation you can live with. or you know how to pass. True, workers often jump ship as a way to increase their salary. But tech companies — from Twitter to Meta META,
-1.57%
— thousands of staff have been laid off in recent weeks. It may be a portentous sign of what may come.

Given the economic outlook, workers may have limited options, warned Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s chief financial officer, last month. “With inflationary pressures not expected to subside soon, living paycheck to paycheck has become the norm,” Nayar said. “Many are pessimistic about their chances of increasing their pay by switching jobs, and some households will become more vulnerable to changes in labor market conditions.”

-Quentin Fottrell

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