For most American families, there's one major money-related tradition associated with Thanksgiving: Black Friday shopping. But for others, bargain hunting takes a back seat to a financial reality check. They use this time together as an opportunity to discuss and review a host of financial issues ranging from estate planning and wills to investment and philanthropy.

Black Friday:黑色星期五

bargain hunting:买便宜货

take a back seat:黯然隐退;处于次要地位


And financial advisers, who sometimes attend more formal versions of these Thanksgiving conversations, have much to share in terms of what direction these meetings can take. They stress that with a little preparation, and a lot of nonconfrontational goodwill, families can come out with an increased sense of connectedness, cooperation and shared vision.

Still, it's hard to gauge how family members will react, even to the most innocuous statements. Every tribe has its more emotional and melodramatic types, and so it's crucial to limit the chances of misinterpretation or outbursts. This may be especially true if younger adults are involved and feel cornered in front of the whole family, experts say.




"Listening is the most important part," says Ben Tobias, president of Tobias Financial Advisors in Plantation, Florida. If a son or daughter wants to join the Peace Corps instead of get a more traditional job, "find out the reasons why, and remember that doing something for two or three years can be a valuable experience. But ask, 'Have you given any thought to your plans after that?' You want them to look a little more in the future than just immediate gratification."

Peace Corps:美国和平队

"It's like the facts of life talk with our kids; no one wants to have it, but you have to do it," says Eleanor Blayney, consumer advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. "People worry that if they sit down with Mom or Dad, it will be awkward or difficult. But it's important to open up about your goals and aspirations, and then ask people in the family what their situation is. You model the conversation by sharing where you are."

the facts of life:生活方面的基本知识

Conversely, Blayney says these meetings may go "one generation up," where the needs of aging parents or grandparents get discussed. That gets tricky for many, as three out of four Americans have never discussed long-term care with their loved ones, according to Genworth's 2011 Financial Reality Check Study.

If that subject is on the agenda, "Be straightforward and don't take family members by surprise," says Genworth national spokesperson Wendy Boglioli. "Tell your family that you have something important you want to talk about and do it in a comfortable, pleasant setting."

"With elder parents, you have to ask them if they need some help with living expenses, medical expenses, all sorts of things," adds Bob Stammers, head of investor education for the CFA Institute, a global nonprofit of investment professionals from more than 100 countries. "Some people don't like to talk about it, and so you have to come at it from the heart. The older generation doesn't like to admit they need some help."