Talking about money

There is no need to feel guilty about wanting financial security – it’s a basic human need. The more you open up and talk about money - even the really difficult conversations - the better your life and the relationships will be.

Why should we talk about money?

Not communicating about money can hurt those around you. For example, if you and your partner have joint accounts or both of your names are on household bills, your money mistakes could impact their credit rating and their financial future and vice-versa. It is vital to know where you stand if you want to protect your finances both during a relationship and when coming out of one.

Not talking about money with other family members can also cause issues. With older people, if we haven’t talked about their financial future, urgent issues can easily crop up and you may not know what their wishes are or how they would like you to deal with the situation.

Sometimes figuring things out and getting them in perspective can be much easier if you’ve got a little help, whether that’s with an expert, or the people closest to you.

Why don’t we like talking about money?

There are a million reasons why we don’t like to talk about money. To many of us, it’s a taboo topic! It’s often seen as a rude subject to bring up.

These are some of the main reasons people give for not talking about money. If you recognise yourself here, maybe it’s time to take a new look at why you feel the way you do:

“I’m hopeless with money, and everyone knows that”

Just because you’ve been one way with money in the past, doesn’t mean that’s how you’ll be in the future. As you grow as a person, priorities change and those around you will understand that. The first step to becoming a money pro who knows exactly what they’re talking about, is sorting out your budget. You can use our Budget planner to help you.

“Life is too short, so why deal with it? It will take care of itself”

Yeah, life is short and enjoying it is important - including when you’ve retired. The truth is, it’s not going to take care of itself - it really isn’t. But putting a bit away now doesn’t need to be painful. In fact, you don’t have to even notice it - especially if your employers are putting money towards it too.

“I know I should talk about my finances, but I have no idea who to turn to”

It can feel like a minefield, sure. Are people out to rip you off, or do they have ulterior motives? Knowing where to start can seem overwhelming. No worries. We have you covered. Talk to us. We are free and impartial and if you need more help we can pass you onto other organisations that you can trust. If you’re struggling with debt you can get free confidential debt advice using our locator toolopens in new window.

“I’ll look stupid”

Ok, you might. We all do at times. If you’ve messed up though, the sooner you deal with it the better. Feeling stupid isn’t worse than losing your home or constantly worrying about how to put food on the table. Talk to us and get the ball rolling. If you’re worried you don’t know about a topic, use one of our hundreds of helpful guides.

“People will think badly of me”

Very few of us love the idea of sharing their spending habits with others, and sometimes other people are judgemental. But don’t let them stop you from moving forward with your finances. This may be a communication issue with someone you love.

“Fortunately, my partner is good with money, so I don’t have to deal with it”

We all have different strengths, but being good with money comes with practice, so allowing someone else to look after everything to do with money means that you’re not going to be in the best position if you find yourself on your own and you do have to.

“My partner doesn’t allow me to deal with money”

It’s one thing to consciously allow someone to take care of the finances because you prefer it that way but if someone has deliberately taken away your financial independence against your wishes, you could be being financially abused. It’s important to know there are things you can do to stop this.

“I don’t want to worry my family”

There are people you can speak to first before talking it through with your family, who will be able to advise you on your specific situation. In some cases, getting your family to help can be a really positive step because you can work together to solve the problem.

“It always leads to an argument, so it’s best not to go there”

We can get really emotional when we talk about money, so getting a game plan together when you need to chat is the easiest way to keep it factual, rather than letting it get so emotional it turns into an argument.

“The situation is too bad. There is no turning this around”

It’s not too bad. It’s not impossible. Trust us. All the debt advisers we recommend have spoken to people who have been in challenging situations, and some have felt better straight away simply through talking. They have then been able to get help. Talking is the first step towards changing your financial circumstances.

“My parents never discussed money, so why should I?”

Talking about money would have been even more of a no-go area than it is today. In the past, there was a lot of shame about financial difficulties and they were often kept hush-hush. We all pick up habits from our parents. You may find you have followed in your parents’ footsteps by accumulating lots of debt. Or, perhaps your partner calls you Scrooge because you are so scared of debt and how it impacted your childhood. Whatever the case may be, finances need to be talked about – regardless of whether your parents did or didn’t.

“I can’t afford professional advice”

There are lots of places you can get free guidance from professionals. If you’re looking to get free debt advice, check out our debt advice locator. Want free pensions guidance? Read our guide Understanding what Pension Wise is and how to use it.

Whatever the reason you’ve been putting off talking about money, the hardest part about tackling a difficult conversation is often finding a way to start it. It gets easier from there.

How to talk about money

If you need to talk to someone about money but aren’t sure how it will go, use our guide to help you get started, including tips on how to get a good outcome, share money goals and what to do if you think the conversation may be tricky or it doesn’t go as planned.

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