Funny thing, money. On the one hand it can get us excited or give us a real sense of achievement (think reaching a savings goal). On the other hand, it’s something we tend to keep to ourselves. Whether our finances are in great shape, feel slightly uncertain at the moment or need a lot of TLC, talking about them openly with a partner or loved one could help you put any money worries in perspective, and align your financial goals.
Why we don’t talk about money
There are all sorts of reasons we don’t discuss money. The psychology behind it is different for each of us.
Some of us had it drummed into us at an early age. Remember Gran telling you it was rude to talk about money? Well, her advice should have come with a few caveats.
Another reason is that, for many of us, our sense of self and achievement is wrapped up with how financially successful we are. So we play our cards very close to our chest – a damaging move in times of financial uncertainty, when many of us are experiencing the same anxieties around jobs and savings. It’s also why we see people falling into the trap of using money they don’t have to project a false, more successful version of themselves.
When we should be talking about money
Some things are best kept to yourself (like your PIN!). But there are circumstances where you could really benefit from an honest discussion about your finances. Here are a few examples.
- In a relationship? Talking openly about your finances with your partner could help you align your goals and pool your knowledge.
- Worried about your finances? Opening up to a close family member could help you regain psychological control of your situation.
- Planning for the long term? Talking to a licensed financial adviser about what you want to achieve could help you set achievable goals for the future – and help you feel like you’re back in control.
Getting the conversation going
Once you’ve decided to have the chat and chosen a trusted person to talk to, here are three steps that’ll help you make the most of your time.
- Decide what you want from the conversation. Do you want advice, help or just someone to talk things through with?
- Share your feelings. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or worried, say so.
- Focus on outcomes. Try and walk away from the conversation with a positive change you can move forward with.
So there we are. Opening up about your finances could be a great help, but remember: your financial information is private, so treat it with care. You can still discuss goals and worries, share hints and tips, and get advice without revealing sensitive information.