JP Morgan: A Financial Giant’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Need a strategy for getting through the holiday season? You can hunker down, as many do, and buy all of the most-wanted gifts, whip up all the snacks and meals, and make sure the entire family is comfortable and happy – but you can still run into any number of unforeseen disasters that will ruin everything. What’s one to do?

Well, you could turn to one of America’s financial giants for advice.

JP Morgan – the storied multinational financial conglomerate – has released a “Holiday and Election Season Family Gathering Survival Guide,” written up by the company’s Chairman of Market and Investment Strategy Michael Cembalest, designed to give you the upper hand this holiday season. The guide gives a brief preview as to what’s coming in terms of markets and investments in 2016, before launching into a preparatory agenda for keeping things civil among the family with so many contentious topics dominating conversation.

“The combination of the holiday season and the election season can be very challenging. At your family gatherings, you may sit next to someone unable to concede anything that contradicts their own point of view. That could make for a long evening,” the guide reads.

If things do get out of hand – and they can and do, in many households – the guide suggests putting on some tunes to calm everyone down. The trick is to find some sort of middle ground, and bring everyone together with a common appreciation of something. That can make for a sort of Houdini act, depending on your family, but it’s not bad advice – and surprisingly helpful, especially coming from a giant financial firm.

“If dinner table discussions become too contentious, put on some music that progressives and conservatives enjoy equally, according to Facebook’s Data Sciences group,” Cambalest writes. “Instead of the polarizing sounds of Beyoncé, Bob Marley and Neil Young on one side, and George Strait, Hank Williams Jr and the Zac Brown Band on the other, here are some artists that both groups like: Metallica, Taylor Swift, Aerosmith and Elvis. Actually, this is a rare example where I prefer the extremists to the moderates.”

Music may or may not do the trick, so the guide gives us some help for guiding the conversation when rocky topics come up. Here are the graphics Cambalest developed:

Source: JP Morgan
Source: JP Morgan

Now, these are pretty dense graphics, and if you jump over to the actual guide on JP Morgan’s site (which you most definitely should), you can click around to check out the embedded and linked information that will help you explore these topics further. This will also help you clearly develop and further concentrate your arguments.

For political junkies, the current news cycle is rife with spiky topics that could lead to dinner table blow-ups. No matter if you’re an avid reader of Salon or Drudge Report, there’s always going to be the temptation to jab outspoken relatives with talking points, or snide remarks. Some that we see from the guide include war, government spending, and energy production, but the list could stretch on for miles.

For business and finance fans, there’s no shortage of things to talk about, either. Entitlements, free trade, taxation, profit repatriation – these are all fascinating topics for discussion for some people, but do you really think your mom is going to want to listen to you argue with your uncle about the complexities of corporate tax rates, and the billions Apple would owe if it transferred its Scrooge McDuck-like fortunes back to the States from overseas?

Probably not, so just chug some eggnog and leave it for Facebook, Snapchat, or whatever the kids are using these days.

Again, check out the entire guide, and get ready for hot debate over mashed potatoes and tofu (or turkey).

Follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter @SliceOfGinger

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