Top 5 Money Matters Discussed at Dinner Tables During the Pandemic

A stressed couple discusses family finances at the dinner table
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As the pandemic continues to raise health concerns and strain family finances, many Americans are having more serious — and more frequent — talks at the dinner table.

A new survey from nonprofit organization Life Happens polled more than 2,000 adults about how the coronavirus has affected their financial behavior. It found people are more comfortable talking about money matters now, with only 40% feeling uncomfortable with the topic compared with 45% feeling that way in January.

Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) also say they want to be even more open with their partners about finances. More than two-thirds (67%) say the pandemic has been a financial wake-up call.

Here are the topics we’re talking about most. All of them rank ahead of topics like politics, which was cited by 25% of survey respondents.

5. Emergency savings

Emergency fund
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More than a quarter (27%) of American families are having conversations about emergency savings, and 45% are working on building their emergency funds because of the coronavirus, the survey found.

Emergency funds can help provide a safety net for all kinds of situations, from unexpected car repairs to the expenses of a pandemic.

For help building your own savings, check out “9 Tips for Starting an Emergency Fund Today.”

4. Current financial status

Analyzing current finances
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More than a quarter of the adults surveyed (29%) are also having discussions about their current financial status, Life Happens reports.

The best way to keep tabs on your financial status is to track your expenses and build and maintain a strong budget. Using a program like Money Talks News partner YNAB (short for "You Need A Budget") can help you budget your way to financial goals, and that budget can be a shared reference point for these types of conversation.

3. Life insurance coverage

Life insurance
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Three in 10 Americans (30%) also say they are discussing life insurance in the wake of the pandemic, the Life Happens survey found.

Life insurance can be a great way to protect your family if something were to happen to you, as Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson discusses in “Which Is Better, Term or Whole Life Insurance?” But you’ll want to understand the differences between term (for a specified period) and whole life (permanent) coverage, particularly when it comes to the costs.

2. Current health issues and concerns

An older man talks to his doctor remotely on his laptop
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Not surprisingly, current health issues are a major topic of conversation, with 32% of respondents saying they raise the subject.

As we recently wrote in “Americans Remain Fearful of This Type of Health Care Amid Pandemic,” many people are still fearful of visiting hospitals, dentists and doctor’s offices for treatment unrelated to the coronavirus.

Telemedicine, the practice of video conferencing between doctors and patients, is one potential way to address those health concerns.

1. Wills and inheritance

Senior reviewing her last will
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A full third (33%) of Americans are discussing wills and inheritance during the pandemic, according to the survey results.

Taking care of this important planning for your family doesn’t have to be grisly or complicated. For tips on getting organized, check out our story “8 Documents That Are Essential to Planning Your Estate.”

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