If you grew up in an environment where old fashioned manners were law, then you were probably raised to believe that it’s rude to talk about money. Even today, it’s not normal to go around the table at a dinner party and have everyone disclose their salary or the amount of money in their savings account.
Perhaps you were taught that the major topics to avoid in any respectable conversation are money, religion, and politics. But we have to talk about these things at some point, so why not be prepared for the big money conversation? Here are some of the areas in your life that can be improved with a good money talk as well as some tips for how to broach the subject tactfully.
Improve Your Relationships
You only have to check out this blog for some of the basics of how money affects your relationships. As a touchy subject and the source of many emotions, anxieties, and hopes, money is a major factor in serious relationships and partnerships. When you learn to talk about money in productive and respectful ways, you commit to improving your relationship and to building the trust between you and your partner.
Things like salary differences or differences in debt amounts can end up dividing a couple if left unresolved and undiscussed. Everyone’s opinions on personal finance will vary slightly depending on all sorts of things like age, cultural background, upbringing, and more. But for a healthy partnership it’s important to work on seeing money as “ours” instead of “yours” and “mine.”
There Is No Standard
Part of what makes talking about money so difficult is the fact that there is no agreed upon standard or measurement for someone’s finances. We can measure ourselves on certain scales like clothing sizes, body mass index, or weight to help give us context to how we’re doing compared to everyone else.
There isn’t a base standard of financial metrics that everyone agrees on. Because of this, it can feel like we don’t know how to perceive ourselves. We might feel shame or fear around what our finances look like. It’s time to break the taboo. When we start talking, the oppression around the silence lifts and we can start to build relationships and realize our own goals better than if we were doing so in the dark.
If you have a partner or spouse or even if you just live in a household where money is shared, you should be on the same financial page as those around you. Since money can be a touchy subject, scheduling a dedicated time to talk about it helps give structure to these important conversations.
You might want to pick a time for regular meetings where you can go over spending and point out any discrepancies in the budget. Try sitting down with a list of topics to discuss and go into conversations knowing what you want to get out of them.
The most important think you can do is be honest. Be honest about your situation and be honest about your goals. Even when it comes to social gatherings and holding back for budgeting purposes, it’s best to be honest with your friends or partner and say that you want to save money rather than coming up with an excuse. When you’re open with money, you’ll be surprised by how many people will reciprocate the honesty and how much you can learn about your own spending and saving habits.