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Why experts say you should talk about finances at Thanksgiving

Money is often a taboo topic, but it’s also an important one. That’s why experts say as you’re gathered with family this holiday season, start the conversation.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Thanksgiving table isn't normally a place where you talk about finances, but experts say it may be the perfect time to do so.

“This is a conversation that is so important to have, whether it's discussing 'Are we prepared for an upcoming retirement?' Are parents aging? 'Have we got the appropriate estate documents in place?'" CEO of Alloy Wealth Management Incorporated Mark Henry said.

Henry said many families don't have these documents in place and need to start now. 

"Unfortunately, you can't wait until the storm happens," Henry said. 

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Henry noted the COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to start talking more about retirement and long-term care

“When it comes to our parents and long-term care and aging, it's a topic that needs to be discussed as a family," Henry said. "'Hey, what would happen if this came to our home? What would happen if Dad got ill or had to retire sooner than later?'”

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While spending Thanksgiving talking about a will may sound like the exact opposite of what you want to be doing, Henry said it’s important to have one.

“So, the will is what's going to help when you pass away," Henry explained. "What your desires or wishes are and how you want your estate to be divided up. When you pass away without a will, it actually goes to the court, and the court's going to decide those things for you.”

So how can you get started? Henry said making these decisions can start with a simple list. 

“If you can take the time just to get a journal out and just write down how you would want your estate divided, what your ideas would be," Henry suggested.

RELATED: The importance of having a will and estate planning

Once you have your list down, Henry said the next step is going to see a qualified estate attorney.

Henry explained the key to starting these hard conversations this Thanksgiving.

“It has to come from an attitude of caring, not judgment," Henry suggested. "The last thing we want at the Thanksgiving dinner table is judging going on. So you know, when you live in a glasshouse, you shouldn't be throwing rocks."

One way for it to come across well, Henry said, is to talk about your own plans first.

"Maybe talk about yourself, 'Here's what I'm doing, preparing myself for retirement,'" Henry used as an example. "'Hey, Mom and Dad, how about y'all? What have y'all done? I'd love to have a look and take an idea and get an idea of where you're headed.'"

Experts say also understand that it may take more than one meeting with your family to get everything situated.