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How to talk about money

It’s often seen as a taboo topic but talking about money can take a weight off your mind and help you move forward.

Talk to a partner, family member or friend – someone you trust. Here, we look at the benefits of talking about money and how to start the conversation.  

Why should you talk about money?

It can help you reach your goals

Whether you’re looking to pay off debt, budget, save or invest – sharing your goals with others can mean you’re more likely to achieve them. You can also get help and guidance on how to reach your target and the options available to you.

It can save you money

Many of us have similar expenses, from food and utility bills to car insurance. You never know – you could be paying more than you should be. Talking to others about what they pay can provide some valuable insight. They may even share tips on how to save money, from discounts you could use to benefits you could claim.  

It may help your relationships

From who pays the bill on your first date, to going on holiday with friends, money can come up in conversation. It can be especially tough if one of you earns less than the other. Being open and honest may help make a, potentially awkward, situation easier. 

It can help reduce stress and anxiety

If money worries are making you anxious, you’re not alone. Whether you’re worried about bills, debt or just want to chat, there are lots of people who can help. 

It can help protect you financially

It can be hard to watch a loved one struggle with money issues. But if their finances are linked with yours, it can affect you as well. Their money mistakes can impact, not only your finances, but your credit score too and vice versa. 

It can make a difficult time easier

Talking to loved ones about financial arrangements after you pass away is not something anyone wants to do. But it’s really important to be open and practical, from discussing how much life insurance you have (or may need), to where your will is kept. 

How to talk to someone about money

Here are some tips to help you have a conversation about money: 

Share a money goal

A subtle way to bring up finances is to share a money goal of your own. For example, you could be saving to buy a new pair of trainers or to pay off a credit card. This may help the other person open up about their goals and worries. 

Create a money goal together

It can help to create a money goal together to help keep you both accountable. By naming and dating your goals, you have something specific to aim for. For example, this could be becoming debt free in 5 years, buying a new home within 2 years, or retiring at 60. 

Be honest about your attitude to money

Not everyone has the same attitude when it comes to money. Some like to spend in the ‘here and now’, while others prefer to save every penny. If you’re thinking of investing, you may also have different attitudes to risk. 

Try to be open with the other person and respect each other’s opinion. To get an idea of their attitude to money, you could ask, “If you won some money, how would you spend it?”

Avoid blame

Talking is a good thing but sometimes our emotions can take over. To avoid the conversation being about who is and isn’t good with money, try to focus on actionable things you can do. For example, you could set up a standing order to put money aside for savings, or set up Direct Debits to make sure bills are paid on time. 

Make a plan with manageable steps

Having a goal is one thing but you need to be able to reach it. To help you succeed, we have lots of financial fitness guides, tools and calculators you can use. We break things down into manageable steps to help you get to where you want to be. 

You can also book a financial health check with us. Our Financial Health Specialists will have an informal chat with you about your finances, explaining where you’re doing well, and where you may be able to improve.

Get in touch with us

If you have money worries and are worried about debt repayments, find out how you can get in touch with us.  

How to end the conversation

After a tough conversation, it’s often a relief that it’s over and done with. But it can help to recognise the fact you’ve had a difficult chat and highlight any positives you got out it, including the next steps. This could be creating a budget for yourself or contacting your bank for advice and support. 

If you feel comfortable, plan a follow up conversation to help you stay on track.

How to deal with negative reactions

Sometimes conversations don’t go to plan. If you find you’re getting a negative reaction, don’t panic. Conversations around money can be difficult for everyone involved.

Try listening to the concerns of the person you’re speaking with. Are their comments justified? Do you agree, or disagree, with what they’re saying? Are they shifting the blame?

Think about how you’ll respond to any negativity before you start the conversation. You could even come back to some questions or comments later – once you’ve had time to process them. 

Make sure to leave a good amount of time to chat through any concerns and suggest ways you can move forward and resolve any issues.

What to do if someone is controlling your money

If someone is controlling your money, running up debts in your name or stopping you from being financially independent – this is known as financial abuse. It can happen to anyone.

Talking about money to the person who is controlling your finances is often difficult. If you’re in this situation, it’s important to talk to someone you trust first and seek help. You can also talk to us, as there are ways we can help

No matter what your financial situation looks like, it’s good to talk.