Money has long been seen as a taboo subject and recent data shows we’re still struggling to open up about our personal finances. Last year, online payment company Klarna reported that a third of UK adults feel uncomfortable talking about money. Personal finance impacts so much of our lives, from relationships and careers to our own mental health, which is why it’s important that we’re able to have honest conversations about it. There are clear benefits, too.
According to MoneyHelper, talking about your finances can help you make better, less risky decisions. Opening up about your money worries also benefits your mental health, and sharing with others can help you feel less anxious and more in control.
COO at PensionBee; Tess Nicholson says: “I think the most important thing is to talk to somebody. When you carry the burden, it takes a toll on your mental health and that’s when you’re more likely to make bad decisions. So it’s like a cycle. I think I’d say, just make sure you’re not dealing with it on your own and talk to somebody.”
So whether you feel awkward talking about money with friends or don’t have the confidence to discuss your salary at work, here are some ways to get started.
1. Listen first
One in two UK adults don’t feel confident when it comes to managing their finances. If that sounds like you, you might find it helpful to engage with educational resources like podcasts, videos, events and blogs. Learning from experts about managing your own finances could give you the confidence boost you need.
On The Pension Confident Podcast, our host Philippa Lamb talks about all things personal finance with a range of expert guests each month. So far, they’ve tackled how to save for retirement, the cost of having kids, and managing finances in difficult situations like divorce and death. Listen on your preferred podcast platform, watch the episodes on YouTube or read the full transcripts.
2. Find a safe environment
Talking about money in relationships can be daunting, so if you aren’t sure how to broach the topic with your partner, lean on a close friend or colleague for support. They may be able to share their own experiences and help you prepare to have a productive conversation. Or, if you’re struggling to discuss money at work, talk things through with a friend, partner or family member first. This might help build your confidence to talk to your manager about your salary, bonuses or a pay rise.
3. Start small
Lots of people don’t want to talk about money for fear of comparison, especially when it comes to things like savings and investments. You might feel embarrassed sharing how much is in your savings pot. So why not start small and get comfortable talking about everyday spending first? Start conversations about budgeting and saving methods before bringing up the big stuff.
4. Make time
Talking about money might be something you’ve been putting off for a number of reasons. You might feel that you don’t have the time or energy to sit down and go through statements and spreadsheets. Try making time in your day-to-day life to talk about finances. For example, you could share your financial goals with your partner while cooking dinner, or swap budgeting tips over coffee with a friend.
5. Be open, honest and non-judgmental
If you’re in a situation where you feel comfortable and safe, it’s really important to be open and honest. If you’re avoiding talking to friends or family about money because you’re in debt, there are organisations available to support you. Reach out to the National Debtline, StepChange or Citizens Advice for more information.
It’s just as important to be open and non-judgmental when speaking to others about worries that they might have. If a friend or loved one approaches you to share their concerns about their spending or debt, take the time to listen and ask how you can support them.
CCO at the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS); Lila Pleban says: “I hid away from my money worries, and they weren’t going anywhere, but downwards. So I think it’s about really facing into it and talking to somebody about it. I was only able to take some practical steps to help myself, once I really faced what was going on.”
6. Start today
There’s no better time to start talking about money than this week. Every year for one week in November, MoneyHelper hosts its Talk Money Week encouraging people to talk about their finances. You can join in with various events and activities across the UK or online using ‘#TalkMoney’. There’s a wealth of resources on the MoneyHelper website including tips on talking to your friends or partner to teaching your kids. But most importantly, you can start having those conversations with friends and family today.
If it’s not safe to talk
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your partner or family because they control access to your money, it might be financial abuse. Use this MoneyHelper guide to read about the signs of financial abuse and find out where you can get further support and advice.
As always with investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. This information should not be regarded as financial advice.