Talking about money is a tricky endeavour. A discussion most people detest. The good news is, talking about money more often will help to normalize it. To make it easier, set a rule that money issues are to be discussed without blame and negative feelings.
Start by focusing on the positive. Talk about something new you learned, for example, how to pay a bill online or how to save money by switching to a bank with fewer fees. Share how good you felt learning a new skill.
Being stereotypical Canadians, we are often afraid we may insult someone, especially when it comes to talking about money. Play a game with your family or friends that can teach you about your personality/priorities with money, for example Money Habitudes for Adults. This exercise can give both parties valuable insight, helping you to understand different financial priorities and perspectives. Hopefully, you will be able to appreciate where the other person may be coming from.
Consider the following points to overcome your fear of talking about money:
1. Find ways to make talking about money easier.
- Normalize talking about money. Talk more often about simple money matters: where do you bank and why, offer some information on challenges you’ve had with money and how you’ve overcome them such as paying a bill late, having some debt or a loan to repay.
- Learn about each other’s values and attitudes toward money (Money Habitudes, past experiences that shape their values, barriers). Discuss what their goals and interests are and how they plan to achieve them with regard to finances.
- Share with each other your knowledge of personal finance and resources available.
2. Decide what you want to talk to about. Stick to one issue at a time.
- Resource: Talking About Money Is a Good Thing, Have a Conversation– Why It’s Important | When To Start | What To Cover
3. Assess what type of conversation you could have about it (productive, difficult).
- How open will the receiver be to talking about it?
- What barriers might prevent a positive discussion? Differing values, financial literacy, money problems etc.
4. Plan a time to talk about money and discuss the matter.
- Ensure the time leaves both parties in a good mindset to discuss things.
- Ensure you plan enough time for the discussion so that no one will be stressed for time to be somewhere else and be distracted or unable to fully engage.
5. Discuss the matter in a non-judgmental and blame free manner.
- Take into account their values and priorities with money and explain yours so that they understand where you are coming from.
- Plan for a realistic goal that you and the other person can meet with regard to the matter.
- Discuss the possibility of bringing in a third party if necessary.
6. Encourage continued open and honest conversation about finances going forward and regular check-ins regarding the resolution of the current issue.
Talking about money can be less stressful when all parties are honest, open and respectful with a common goal in mind.
Submitted by: Ashley Kaartinen, UofM student for Community Financial Counselling Services