The holidays are just around the corner and there's no doubt they'll look different this year. How do we avoid the typical holiday traps that often lead to overspending? Should we address our family's financial situation with our children? Is giving financial products an appropriate gift for a child? Jennifer Valentyne, TV host and parent, speaks with Angela Iermieri, financial planner at Desjardins Group, about managing your family's finances and expectation this holiday season to make them less stressful and more enjoyable.

Jennifer Valentyne: The holidays are fast approaching, and one thing that is for sure is that it looks different this year. And that's why I'm here with Angela Iermieri and she is a Desjardins Group Financial Planner. Hello Angela, how are you?

Angela Iermieri: I'm very well, thank you Jennifer

Angela, what's the number one thing that parents should be thinking about as far as their finances are concerned during the holiday period?

I believe especially this year we have got to pay attention to spending. It's important to establish a budget on what we can afford to spend whether it be on groceries for the meals we want to do or the gifts we want to give. So, make a list to be realistic according to what your family can afford this year and try to stick to that list.

Now we're not spending as much money entertaining this year but it's definitely still hard not to over spend on decorations, on gifts. And products are just a click away on the computer and that impulse buying, I think we have it because we're bored in the house.

It is. That's the difference this year, so this is why it's more important than ever to know your limit on what you can spend to avoid those impulse purchases. So, if you do have to use credit, because we know online we always tend to buy with our credit cards, try to know your limits and know how much you can reimburse at the end of the month or in a reasonable amount of time.

Also, maybe we can change it this year and go more for responsible holidays, spend less, do more activities as much as we can in the circumstances but maybe just chat with loved ones through Zoom calls. Or even buying local is being more responsible and at the same time we can support our local businesses who have also been hurt during this pandemic and that way we're helping our community.

I love that, support local. Now is there a way to address our financial situation with our children, so their expectations are not so high? Should we be talking to them about it?

Yes, I do believe it's important to talk about your finances with your family. It shouldn't be a taboo subject and we shouldn't make it look bad or sound bad. So, if they're old enough to understand, it would be good to explain the difference between needs and desires. Maybe this year we'll be covering most of our needs, and for our desires we'll try to plan for them for another year and get them involved in that, maybe planning a family trip or a big purchase. Let them be involved and know what it means.

Also, make them understand holidays are not just about receiving but also about giving. Kids should know that money can be spent, but it should also be saved for special projects and it can also be shared with those who are more in need. I think when kids learn this from a very young age, it makes them better off to manage their own finances later in life, be better customers and also better community members.

Exactly. And I've heard of families giving financial products as gifts like investments or bonds, what are your thoughts on this?

It's actually a good idea. I think financial investments or products are a very tangible way to ensure financial security for the child's future. Sometimes we run out of ideas, we don't know what to get the kids anymore or maybe some family members like grandparents would also like to participate. Often through a contribution in a registered education savings plan or even offering different financial products. It's a good way to make them understand that this is a gift for the future and that they will be able to use it later.

I remember one year I got my sons and my nephews a silver collector coin from the super heroes' collection and I explained to them that it being a silver coin, it's worth more than a regular coin. And also, that they could choose to spend it right now, but if they chose to keep it may increase in value in future years. For a while each time they would see me they would ask me, "how much is my coin worth now?" So, kids understand more than we think and we should just explain it to them.

I have to ask you Angela, how much is the coin worth now?

I haven't checked lately but it's only been a few years.

Thank you so much for joining me Angela, for more information on financial tips during the holiday season just visit Desjardins.com/coopme and please join us for our virtual panel Desjardins Dialogues with Dr. Natasha Sharma and of course, Angela. Thanks again Angela.

Thank you, Jennifer.

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