Talking about money comes naturally to us as Financial Planners, but for many, it can be difficult; in the UK it’s often seen as a taboo, with 43% of people admitting they have felt embarrassed talking about personal finances. However, during times like we’ve seen this year, speaking about the M word is more important than ever.
Life is full of moving parts, ever-changing plans and things beyond our control. But constructive conversations are the first step towards greater resilience and better financial harmony.
As with most taboo subjects, ironically, they are usually the subjects we need to talk about most. We need to start having healthy, open and honest conversations about money so that we can begin to improve our financial wellbeing and security.
Why is talking about money important?
In 2018, the UK’s Financial Capability survey found that of the 5,974 participants, 63% felt they couldn’t determine what happens in their lives when it comes to money and 61% claimed not to focus on the long-term when it came to money.
In 2020, this work was carried forward by the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing. This highlights the need to significantly improve financial wellbeing in the UK. According to their research, roughly 11.5m people have less than £100 in savings, 9m are facing serious debt, 22m don’t know enough to save for their retirement, and 5.3m children aren’t getting a meaningful financial education.
So, if talking about money is the first step to improving our financial wellbeing, how do you get the conversation started? Here are our top tips.
How to start talking about the ‘M’ word
Always be prepared
Understanding your financial situation is the first step. Think about where you are and where you want to be.
Establish your long-term goals, identify your priorities and any financial concerns you have. Create a step-by-step plan of how you can achieve your goals, and make a note of anything that might hinder your ability to reach these goals. Then, create a realistic budget for your goals and make a savings plan.
There’s no need to go over the top, but having this information clear in your mind will only help your conversations.
Sharing your financial goals and values with those around you is proven to have a positive impact on your financial satisfaction and rate at which you achieve your goals.
The perfect timing
When you come to talk to about money, timing is everything. Make sure you have quality time allocated to these conversations, and there are no distractions around.
Talking with family and friends
Money shouldn’t be a point of contention. However, it can be a highly emotive subject, and cause arguments and tension between loved ones.
In the grand scheme of things, we think money should be seen as a tool to help you get to where you want to be in life. When discussing money, it should be less about the figures and more about the value it brings to you.
The more we have these conversations with friends and family, the more we can learn from each other.
Talking with children
You will have learnt a lot during your journey with money, so make sure to share these lessons with the next generation. See our top Financial planning tips to pass on to the next generation for more inspiration and talking points.
It’s important to begin financial education from a young age, and The Money Advice Service also have some great tips here on how to talk to children about money. This introduces fun ways to teach children about money. Including small habits like getting them to hand the money over when you’re out shopping, giving them a piggy bank and counting change together.
Some of these tips are for the smaller kids, but even the bigger kids need some guidance when it comes to managing their first wage, saving for their first home or paying off debts, for example.
The art of listening
Instead of listening, we’ve all been guilty of skipping ahead to our next point. A conversation is a two-way street, and everyone likes to feel heard. It’s just as important to listen, as well as talk.
It’s good to talk
The more you open up and talk about money, the more confident you will feel in your financial situation and the better your overall wellbeing and personal relationships will be. Talking money is healthy, so let’s talk.
Don’t just take it from us – 61% of people feel better and more positive about their financial situation after discussing their finances.
- The Money Advice Service how to have a conversation about money guide
- Lloyds Bank 6 tips to help you start the conversations
- Our complete financial planning checklist
- A free consultation with one of our professional financial advisers