Top tips to start a conversation about money
It’s a well known fact that people in the UK aren’t talking about money. Talking more about money has a whole list of benefits and very few, if any, downsides. So why are we still struggling to put aside the discomfort and have the uncomfortable conversations?
This week is Talk Money Week - a campaign organised by the Money and Pensions Service to get the nation talking more about personal finance and improve financial wellbeing. It’s a mission I wholeheartedly believe in and it’s very much part of the ‘why’ behind TGTM, so keep reading for my top tips to get started talking about money.
Don’t overcomplicate things
Often when we’re nervous about something, especially a tricky conversation, we have a tendency to panic and play out every situation in our heads. Try and avoid this, instead focusing on how you can bring the conversation about in a natural way. Can you use a segway about a news story to bring money into the conversation? What about an anecdote from a friend? Work out how to start the conversation and the rest will be easier.
One of the reasons we often avoid conversations about money is simply because we make a whole lot of assumptions about what our nearest and dearest think, feel and how they will react. Keep in mind that the fact that money is still such a tricky subject for many means that you’re even less likely to have the full financial picture, even when it comes to close friends and family. Do your best to set assumptions aside before the conversation.
Choose the setting well
Although hopefully the walls surrounding conversations about money are coming down, there’s still a way to go. Having an open and honest conversation about money in a noisy environment or with an office listening in probably isn’t going to create the best setting to talk in, so think about when and where you can have a stress-free conversation, whether that’s on a weekend without work distractions or an evening before you settle down for dinner.
Try and listen rather than react
Especially when a topic of conversation is new and the territory is unknown, you can’t guarantee what the other person is going to say or what they might be thinking. There’s a chance that you’ll be on the same page, but there’s also a chance you’ll have different views and opinions. Aim to go into the conversation with an open mind and listen to the other person, rather than pulling apart their point of view. Listening is key for a constructive conversation.
Remember that these conversations can have a positive impact on both your mental health and your relationships with friends and family. The first conversation is often the hardest hurdle to clear, so focus on all of the benefits that talking about money can bring.