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How to Help Clients Avoid Holiday Financial Faux Pas

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Like religion and politics, a friendly conversation on the topic of money can quickly turn ugly, ruining an otherwise festive holiday gathering.

To help consumers with that opinionated uncle who’s had too much to drink, Ally Bank has teamed up with author and original New York Times “Ethicist,” Randy Cohen, to address common financial etiquette questions.

A six-week video series featuring Cohen launched Thursday on the Ally Bank “Straight Talk” blog, providing advice on how to gracefully handle what could be a financial faux pas. Topics to be covered include:

  •  How to handle cause-related requests from friends and family
  •  Whether regifting could be regrettable
  •  Rules for lending property to friends or family
  •  What to say when asked how much something costs
  •  What to do if a friend or relative asks for money
  •  Giving the gift of cash.

For each scenario, Cohen provides simple solutions and verbal cues that can help to transition a tricky conversation, while man-on-the-street style interviews offer everyday consumer perspectives on money matters.

“Knowing how to confidently handle an awkward money question before it actually occurs is invaluable,” said Cohen. “In teaming up with Ally Bank, my hope is that we can continue to educate people on the dos and don’ts of money discussions, keeping the focus on friends and family, rather than finances.”

In addition to its presence on the Straight Talk blog, Ally Bank’s financial etiquette series will also be available for consumers to view on its Facebook and Twitter channels, as well as YouTube.

The series will run through the week of Jan. 21.


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