The mention of the family dinner table typically brings to mind a nostalgic time when life was less hectic and families would come together to enjoy a meal and conversation. It was a time to catch up on the day’s activities and reconnect. While the pace of life seems to have gotten busier, many families still value the time-honored tradition of the family dinner table.
Perhaps your family connects in a different way, whether it be in the car during a daily commute, over morning coffee, or a nighttime ritual. Whatever your family does to connect, those less-hurried times can be the best for thought-provoking discussion.
One simple idea is to write questions on small strips of paper and put them in a cup or jar, then place the jar on the dinner table or another area where the family gathers. When everyone is together, have each teen draw a strip of paper and read the question. The answers often generate more questions!
Here are some interesting questions to get you started:
What was your most recent job interview like? How many interviewers, what kinds of questions, etc.?
How much did you earn at your first part-time job ever? First full-time job ever?
What kind of benefits does your job have? Which perks do you like the best?
How did we file our taxes last year?
Did we pay in or get a refund?
Would you rather have to pay in, get a refund, or “break even” when you file your income taxes? Why?
Do we pay any property taxes? If so, how much are they each year?
What spending categories do you think should get more/less of the national budget than they do now? Why?
What made you choose your current credit union or bank?
Have you ever looked at others?
Do you put money in savings regularly?
How do you make sure you save enough for a rainy day?
Do you balance your checkbook every month? Why or why not?
What mobile services (if any) do you use? How did these change how you bank?
Do we have debt as a family? If so, is it for a house, a car, a credit card, etc.?
Do we have a plan or timeline to pay off the debt?
What’s the ballpark of your credit score? How could we improve it?
What’s the plan for any post-secondary education I pursue? Am I on my own or will you be helping me out at all?
What do you know about the stock market?
Do you have a plan for retirement yet?
At what age do you plan to or want to retire?
Do you plan to spend more or less than you currently do?
Do you know what index funds are? Do we invest in any of those?
What is insurance for?
When in your life have you been MOST grateful for insurance?
If you add me as a driver or already have added me, how does this impact our auto insurance rates?
Do you plan a monthly budget for our household?
If so, what tools do you use (spreadsheet, app, cash envelopes, paper and pencil, etc.)?
How do we handle unexpected expenses?
Do we have an emergency fund?
If you could go back in time, what is one spending decision you would “undo?"
You can get creative with many more questions for your family. The important thing is just getting the conversations started.