Here Is the Best Conversation You Can Have with Grandma this Holiday

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Your grandparents have so much to offer — embarrassing stories about your parents, vintage style, and even financial advice. But you might have already known this; almost three-quarters of young adults consider their grandparents to be an influence on their saving and spending habits, according to a new study by TIAA-CREF.

And why wouldn’t we? Our country’s older generations have seen some serious stuff. They’ve lived through wars, recessions, and major economic shifts. But if you want to glean any of their wisdom, you’ll have to take matters into your own hands this holiday. After all, while most young adults are open to a discussion about money, according to the TIAA-CREF study, only 15 percent of grandparents are likely to start one.

What To Ask To Get Priceless Advice

While you’re sitting around the tree sipping hot chocolate this holiday, ask your grandparents for their thoughts on the following — you just might learn a thing or two:

1. Saving money. Americans who grew up around the time of the Great Depression and its aftermath have a much different financial perspective than the generations that followed. Your grandparents will be able tell you stories about all the creative ways they saved because no one knew what tomorrow would bring.

2. Avoiding debt. Analysis by the Pew Research Center found the wealth gap between Americans over the age of 65 and those 35 and under is the widest it’s ever been in history at 47-to-one. It’s no surprise considering the rise in credit card debt, and college graduates burdened with more student loan debt than any other generation. Try asking your grandparents how they managed to retire relatively debt-free.

3. Spending smart. Innovations in online shopping have made it possible to spend pretty effortlessly. Your grandparents didn’t have Amazon 1-Click or Apple Pay; they thought long and hard about major purchases and were much less susceptible to impulse spending. If you struggle with overspending, Grams and Pop will probably be able to help.

4. Living on less — and loving it. You won’t see too many grandmas out there rocking designer jeans and Beats headphones. Lifestyle inflation — the tendency to increase your spending along with your income — is an easy trap to fall into as your career takes off. Our grandparents had to balance this too. Ask them how they handled it.

The holidays are a chance to spend quality time with family, so why not take advantage of having your grandparents around? Remember, they may want to share their financial wisdom with you, but are probably hesitant to break the ice. Take the lead and make the time to listen to them this year.