Discussing financial topics during a gathering of family and friends can be daunting. Need a few safe points to chat about without offending anyone while passing the Christmas turkey? Here are some financial topics you can discuss without burning bridges this holiday.
Festive holidays or not, there are always a few topics that you would rather avoid at your friend/family gatherings, especially conversations about money.
But let’s get real, at some point, the conversation inevitably turns into ‘money talk’ — who earns x amount of money, who has been given a raise or who has bought Tesla stock before the boom. These discussions can be on the touchy side, especially so when there’s someone in attendance whose finances have taken a hit due to COVID-19.
The good news: there is a way to navigate financial subjects amiably — you just need some advance planning and ideas on what to talk about.
Topic 1: Share tips and tricks to save more money, and tell your loved ones about the latest deals
This is one of the safest go-to topics to talk about during gatherings. Who doesn’t want to save money? Let your friends know about the fantastic freebies they can get when they sign up for a credit card (we’re talking about Dyson products, Apple watches, Airpods, ErgoTune chairs and more) with SingSaver.
If you’re following Telegram groups and Instagram pages that post the best deals in Singapore, feel free to share those tips with them as well. It’s a win-win situation where you get to low-key show off your budgeting knowledge and your loved ones can also learn to save more money.
Obviously, don’t tell your friends or family exactly how much money you’ve saved or have, in case they think you’re showing off (which in turn might breed jealousy).
Topic 2: Count your blessings
Instead of lamenting how you missed the opportunity to buy Tesla stock before it hit S$1,000 per share, give thanks and be grateful for what you already have. Perhaps you’ve managed to be more disciplined in your savings compared to last year, or finally got down to buying an endowment plan.
You can mention things like being grateful to have a job (make sure no one in your group has recently been retrenched or fired) or thankful for not having to worry about your next meal.
Topic 3: Charitable donations
Now that you’re grateful for what you have, how about helping out the less fortunate financially through donations?
Also, donating to charity might actually save you more money on taxes, especially if you’re a high earner. In fact, you will be eligible for a 250% tax deduction when you make qualifying donations to Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs). These donations can be in cash, shares, computers and more.
To put it simply, for every S$1 donated to a registered charity, S$2.50 will be deducted from your taxable income. Your friends who are constantly complaining about their high taxes will thank you for this information.
Topic 4: Talk about other ways to reduce income tax
Nobody likes paying income tax, but it’s unavoidable. The only thing you can do is to lower your income tax, which we think will make a fruitful discussion for everyone at the dinner table who’s trying to pay less tax.
Basically, there are a few ways to reduce your tax burden:
- Contribute to your Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) account
- Top up your CPF Special Account (SA) voluntarily
- Voluntarily contribute to your Medisave account
- Make donations to approved institutions
- Sign up for an eligible course
For more information on income tax in Singapore, click here.
Topic 5: Referrals for financial planners
We’ve all heard horror stories about terrible financial planners who simply called it quits or just want to hit MDRT status by selling whatever policies their client can be ‘conned’ into buying even though it might not be a good fit.
With your friends and family gathered, now’s the best time to refer them to financial planners who can actually be trusted. Just as you might ask them for recommendations on a restaurant or the best make-up, getting a referral for a financial adviser can be invaluable.
Of course, once you get a few recommendations, you will still need to do your homework, as what may work for your friend may not work for you. After all, finding an agent who understands your needs and goals is a bit like dating.