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How to Talk About Money

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Man and woman sitting and talking in front of a laptop

That’s right, money.

It’s okay, take a deep breath. Because we get it. Although money has a huge impact on almost every area of your life, it’s a topic you might be reluctant to discuss.

And you’re not alone. A recent survey revealed that a staggering 62% of all Americans don’t talk about money regularly. Other studies show that people would rather discuss almost any other subject – including marital discord, mental health, addiction, race, sex, or even politics.

But if you can overcome your reservations, you’ll find that talking about money can lead to some tremendous personal benefits. So, let’s explore how you can master this skill.

First of all - why is talking about money so hard?

Make no mistake – the topic of money is emotional. There are many understandable reasons why we may shy away from the subject. Do any of these feel familiar?

  • We don’t want to be judged – No one wants to be seen as poor or worse off than their friends.
  • What we learned growing up – Many of us are taught that talking about money is ill-mannered, pretentious, or downright rude.
  • What we didn’t learn growing up – No one wants to appear uneducated about such an important matter.

Understanding these emotions will help you prepare accordingly when it comes time to discuss finances. But don’t let them stop you. The benefits of talking about money so far outweigh the potential downsides that it makes sense to try and overcome them.

The benefits of talking about money with your partner

This can be a big challenge, no doubt. Recent surveys show only 37% of couples talk about finances on a regular basis. And nearly 40% don’t even know how much their partner makes. So, the very decision to discuss the topic will put you ahead of most couples.

And once you start, you’ll quickly realize the advantages these conversations will bring. These include:

  • A greater sense of control – Discussing money with your partner will help reduce your stress by giving you a complete picture of your joint finances.
  • Smarter decision making – When both partners are involved in the process, you’ll benefit from each other’s experience and perspectives.
  • A better relationship Studies have shown that the more couples talk about money, the happier they are.
  • Fewer fights – A whopping 83% of couples say talking about finances more can help resolve disagreements.

One way to make it fun? Plan a financial date night. We'll show you how here.

But most of all, talking about money on a regular basis will significantly increase your ability to achieve your mutual financial goals.

The benefits of talking about money with your children

Parents pour everything into preparing their children for life. And one of the best things you can teach your kids is how to handle their finances. It may be one of the most important skills they’ll ever need.

Talking to your children about money will enable them to:

  • Cultivate a healthy, positive, and realistic view of spending and saving
  • See how hard work and responsibility can help them achieve their financial objectives
  • Learn that money itself is not the goal, but a tool that will help them achieve their dreams
  • Understand the importance of planning, budgeting, and delaying gratification

The key is to start young and keep your instruction level age-appropriate, while demonstrating good habits yourself. Modeling how to handle money could be one of the greatest gifts you ever give your kids.

The benefits of talking about money with aging parents

Approaching elderly parents about a such private matter can be daunting. It may be a topic you’ve never discussed – and you could feel like you’re overstepping your place in your relationship. These conversations can be very challenging.

But they are also extremely important for everyone. In some cases, your parents’ financial circumstances could affect your own for years. Talking about it will provide invaluable information, such as:

  • Their plans for retirement – and how ready they are to pay for it
  • Their ability to cover their long-term healthcare needs
  • Their ideas about post-retirement housing
  • How their finances are organized and who has access

You'll also gain insights into what you can expect once they are gone. This could include information about any potential inheritance, funeral expenses you may have to cover, or any other obligations.

How to begin these conversations

Taking the right approach to discussions about money will help you achieve final outcomes that are positive, healthy, and beneficial to everyone involved. Here are four recommendations:

  • Acknowledge everyone’s awkward feelings right up front. Identifying the elephant in the room will help loosen up the atmosphere.
  • Start small. Begin by discussing how money makes everyone involved feel. Knowing this will help you make progress.
  • Ask questions. Learn everyone’s financial goals. Once you know where you want to end up, you can start mapping out how you’ll get there.
  • Keep at it. Discuss on a regular basis. While these conversations may be difficult at first, the more you talk about money, the more comfortable – and confident – you will become.

Our tools and resources help you grow your money and live more confidently.

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