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Financial Etiquette Dos and Don'ts

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It is the season for graduations, weddings, family reunions, vacations, and gift giving galore. If your packed summer event schedule is taking a toll on your financial health, it is important to set expectations with your family and friends before hosting that block party together or pitching in on a graduation gift for your niece. Talking about money with family members and friends can feel awkward, but in some instances, not talking about financial expectations upfront can create stress and tension down the road. It could also leave you with a larger dent in your pocketbook than you expected.

Practicing good financial etiquette can help you smooth the way and minimize complicated financial situations. Establishing a summer, and for that matter, any season, budget and knowing what you can — and cannot — afford to spend, is the first step. The next is clearly and proactively communicating your financial boundaries to other involved parties. To help you get started, here are a few tips on how to approach some common financial discussions with grace.

Going out for dinner — Before you make a reservation or stop somewhere for a bite to eat as a group, discuss your price range preference, and reach an agreement on whether to split the bill evenly or ask for separate tabs. If you are on a tight budget, simply say so. Most people will understand and agree to separate tabs at an affordable location.

Celebrating milestones — Birthdays, weddings, graduations, and other events can quickly become costly. Look at your budget and determine what you can afford to spend on gifts and travel expenses before the invitations start rolling in. Also, use your budget as a guide to your decisions on when to decline an invitation to an out-of-state wedding or other expensive event.

Giving gifts — If you plan to go in on a large gift with someone else, be clear about your spending range before the shopping begins. If you are the one purchasing the gift, it is important that the total cost of the gift does not put a financial strain on your short-term finances. It may be unlikely, but if the other party unexpectedly cannot reimburse you for their portion, your financial stability could be compromised.

Co-hosting an event — Whether you are hosting a barbeque with the neighbors, a family reunion funded by all the siblings, or your child's wedding with your ex-spouse, it is important to discuss the budget for the event and how the costs will be divided before the planning begins. What is more, if someone is donating their time — for example, to clean their house or create the floral arrangements for the event — factor the going rate for their services and the number of hours the task will take and give credit where credit is due, unless they ask you to handle it otherwise. Doing so will help all parties feel recognized and appreciated for their time or financial contributions.

Planning a vacation — When travelling with others, agree upfront on a budget and who will pay for what, before you hit the road. If you are booking the trip in advance — and cannot book accommodations or other aspects of the trip separately — ask your fellow travellers for reimbursement upfront so that you are not left feeling cheated or financially strained afterward. If you are the one responsible for reimbursing someone else, do so before you depart for your destination. It will make it easier for everyone in your group to relax and have a good time.

Keep In Mind

With today's busy lifestyles, details can easily get lost in the shuffle. When planning larger group events or trips, consider creating a shared document that outlines the proposed budget, who is responsible for what costs, and when payments are due. This document will help minimize misunderstandings, making these events less stressful — and more enjoyable — for everyone involved.


Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. Some products and services may not be available in all jurisdictions or to all clients.

This communication is published in the United States for Texas only; and this advisor is licensed only in the states of CA, CO, FL, MO, NC, NM, OK, TX, and VA.

M. Ahmad Adnan, CFP®, CRPC®, RFC®

Financial Advisor

Business Financial Advisor

Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

3200 Steck Avenue | Suite 250 | Austin, TX 78757

Phone: 512.213.6400 Ext. 102 | Toll Free: 866.238.4230


© 2013 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

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