Archive for Families and Finance

Ten Things I for Which I am Grateful This Thanksgiving

I think this is the blog where I am supposed to gush about my wonderful family and brag to you about all of my successes in 2016.  Gobble, gobble, who wants to read that?  So, in no particular order:


1.The election is over, so I can quit coming up with excuses why I’m not watching the debates on TV. Hey, that laundry wasn’t going to fold itself!



2. Pumpkin and pecan pies for Thanksgiving dinner bought through the Project Angel Heart  fundraiser. So delicious and gives me an excuse to not make pies while supporting a great charity.  By the way, I wasn’t going to bake those pies, anyway.  This just makes me feel better about buying them!


3. The nice lady at the Winter Park season ticket office who fudged my son’s birthdate by 2 weeks so we could get one more year of free skiing for him. Thanks, nice lady!


4. This 5-year old laptop continues to work so I am keeping it another year in spite of my whole family mocking it. Who needs more than 1 hour of battery life, anyway?


5. People who dress up as turkeys, pilgrims, ballerinas, clowns, ancient Romans, storm troopers, and pies to run/walk the Turkey Trot every year. You make consuming Bloody Mary’s while watching the race so much fun!


6. The City of Denver hasn’t allowed a retail marijuana shop to open next door to my house.


7. None of the men in my family have chosen to sport a man-bun.


8. My kids haven’t gotten too cool to watch the Peanuts holiday specials on TV. Yet.charlie-brown


9. More and more retailers are choosing to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day.


10. The amazing network of clients, friends, family, referral partners, vendors, and all of you who have helped Sullivan Financial Planning grow into its TENTH year in 2017. Thank you all so much!

Should You Talk Money Over The Turkey?

“Thanksgiving is an emotional time.  People travel thousands of miles to be with people they see only once a year.  And then discover once a year is way too often.”  ~ Johnny Carson


Does this sound familiar?  What if this is the year that tough conversations need to take place with parents and siblings about caregiving?  How about if you know your kids are spending way above their lifestyle with no savings and it’s driving you crazy?


No one wants to ruin the holidays with awkward conversations or arguments.  However, with today’s spread out families, it can be hard to have face-to-face discussions about important issues at any other time.


Here are 3 tips to combining family business with holiday celebrations:


  1. Delay the conversation until after the holiday: If you need to stay an extra day this year to discuss family business, plan for it.  Also let your siblings, parents, or kids know that you have some ideas you’d like to discuss during the extra time together.  That lets the others know that it won’t all be about Black Friday bargains.


  1. Start with an outside example: If you are worried about your parents’ finances in retirement or your kids’ lack of an emergency fund, bring up  a story about another friend or news article you read about the subject.  Family may naturally open up about their preparedness for a similar situation.  Or you could ask an open ended questions like, “How do you see yourself spending time in retirement?”  Avoid confrontational questions like, “How much do you have saved in your emergency fund?”


  1. Prepare the adult kids for changes: Sometimes parents are planning to sell the family home, need to live on a tighter budget, or plan to move away from their kids for various reasons.  Boomer divorce rates are, well, booming, as people retire and realize they don’t want to spend the next 20 years of downtime with the person they raised the family with.  Again, this conversation may not be appropriate over pecan pie (you might ruin pecan pie for your kids forever and that would be sad), but you should carve out some time prior to everyone leaving to have the talk.


Remember, as life situations change, our relationships change, too.   It’s important to treat your family members as adults, prepare to compromise, and don’t overreact to big changes.  Some time to digest family news before making huge decisions or dramatic statements will benefit everyone.  Maybe we can all just relax over Christmas!

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