How to tackle money topics across cultures

Money is a delicate topic. Throw multicultural and interracial factors into the coin jar, and you could create quite a clatter in moments!

If you find yourself in a multicultural situation that involves money, tread carefully! Here are just a few examples:

  1. Your parents-in-law suddenly present you with a magnificent monetary sum as a gift. Do you accept it with thanks or protest, even a little bit?
  2. Your multicultural fiance’s relatives in another state invite you both to stay over for a few days at their house (in separate rooms, of course). Do you give them a monetary gift as a sign of your appreciation, or would that be considered rude?
  3. How do you split the bill at movies, restaurants and other recreational activities?

Having been in all 3 of these situations, I can only offer my experiences:

  1. Money as a gift. This depends on who your parents-in-law are. In my family, it’s customary to protest and even refuse to take money as a gift, even if you end up taking it. (Does that even make sense? :P) However, my African parents-in-law do not take kindly to protests; you’re simply to accept gifts with lots of appropriate gratitude.
  2. Favors that might warrant monetary compensation. Again, it depends (notice a common thread here?). My fiance told me that no, money was not expected for our stayover and might even be considered offensive. However, we helped out around the house. As for the car they let us drive, we topped it up to a full tank of gas before leaving.
  3. Bills: Together or separate? I remember my fiance being a little taken aback when we went to the movies once, and I paid my own way separate from my parents. I only understood when we went to his home country as a married couple, and his parents paid for us to watch a movie (just the two of us) and even added extra for the concession stands! When I tried to give back the money or just not use it, he explained that wasn’t an option: “They’ll be hurt if we don’t use the money,” he said. Oh well, in that case … !
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About multiculturalmarriage

I'm glad to be part of a multicultural marriage! I grew up in the U.S. but am married to an African husband. This makes life challenging, creative and cool - all at the same time!
This entry was posted in Communicating/Relating techniques, Faith/Values, Finances, Ways of life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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