Money conversations are inherently tricky. When you enter a financial conversation it’s similar to walking through land mines — you have to step lightly and you never know what will create an explosion.
Talking about money is considered opening the door on a taboo subject and most people would prefer to keep their money secret because there is a lot of discomfort, shame, and embarrassment that comes with those conversations.
Discomfort occurs when you’re doing better or worse than people expected and you are trying to explain why that is the case. Shame can happen when you’re financially in a bad place and you’re embarrassed about the role you played in making bad financial decisions. Embarrassment can also happen when you have both a good or bad financial situation.
With all of these potential emotional reactions to talking about money why on earth would you want to talk about money?
You have to talk about money so that you are able to make informed financial and life decisions with clarity and purpose. Frequent money conversations alert you to potential problems, shines a light on successes, and makes it easier to make adjustments to your overall financial plan.
4 money conversations to have
Because the benefits outweigh the negatives it’s important to think about who in your life you should be having these money conversations with:
If you are married you are in this together. Regardless of how you choose to manage your finances (separate accounts) it’s important to check in with your spouse from time to time to make sure that you’re on the same page financially.
Checking in regularly is also helpful as you and your spouse plan: retirement, savings, vacations, home purchases, or having a family.
Have money conversations with your children. If you’re not comfortable talking about money find resources that will help you to talk about and teach good money habits.
Your children will learn about money from you — make sure you’re working hard to teach the best lessons possible. The lessons your children learn from you about: thrift, savings, debt, and hard work will resonate throughout the rest of their lives. No pressure.
This conversation has the potential to get awkward pretty quickly. But, with increasing reports of adult children being in the position of helping their parents with retirement, this is a conversation that can’t be avoided.
Try to find out about their: debt, savings, retirement plans, and keep an eye on their health. Do not ignore this conversation. Just be sensitive to your parents’ feelings and be respectful — they are still your parents.
Money conversations should also happen with any financial professionals who are in your life. Check in regularly with these professionals who are working with you on growing your money.
You have to have money conversations with them because they are handling YOUR money. Do not hand over your financial power.
Money conversations are an awkward and necessary part of financial planning. You cannot make substantial financial progress without having these money conversations because you will be operating in the dark until you do.
Approach these conversations with care because most of us are doing the best we can with the information that we had at the time we made our money decisions. The more often you have these conversations, the easier they will be.
Michelle Jackson is a personal finance and lifestyle blogger sharing her story at The Shop My Closet Project. Her goal is to help people cultivate their best life. When she’s not blogging or podcasting for Girl Gone Frugal you can find her riding her bike, going for coffee, or hiking in the mountains.