Money undeniably causes stress – and for a lot of people, too.
The vast majority of UK employees are suffering from money worries, with more employees than ever saying that money worries impact them at work. This means that around 25 million are affected by money worries while at work. Additionally, two in five (40%) employees worry about their finances ‘always or often’.
Despite its prevalence in our lives and the stress it causes for many, most people find money extremely difficult to speak normally about.
There are many, many different reasons why people don’t like to talk about money. For many, it’s a taboo topic that will rarely be discussed, as it can be uncomfortable and unpleasant to talk about. Our front page even houses one of these stats: 44% of people say money is the most challenging topic to talk about.
Why should we talk about money?
Talking about money and normalising conversations about it can ease your worries and help you to have a good relationship with money.
Research has found that people who do discuss money:
- make better and less risky financial decisions
- have stronger personal relationships
- help their children form good lifetime money habits
- feel less stressed or anxious
- feel more in control
Not only does talking about money have positive effects, as described above, but not talking about money can have negative effects too.
Not being open about money with those close to you can also cause them stress and hurt. For example, if you and your partner have both of your names are on bills, or any joint accounts, your financial situation could impact their financial future (and vice-versa!). It is important to know where you stand if you want to look after your finances during a relationship as well as when coming out of a relationship. The only way to do this is to start being open with your partner.
Not talking about money with other family members can also cause problems. With older people, if you haven’t talked about their financial future, issues can crop up in regards to things like retirement and care. You may not know what their wishes actually are, or how they would like you to manage the situation.
The solution? Start opening up. The sooner you have difficult conversations – the better.
How to talk about money
Firstly, come up with a good time and place to discuss money – not when you are in a rush, and not when you are exhausted after a long day at work. Planning these conversations might not seem that important, but organisation is actually very useful – you don’t want to get rushed away suddenly, or be interrupted. Perhaps make a plan of what you actually want to say and discuss, so you don’t forget or miss anything out.
The Money Advice Service also recommends that sometimes it helps to start the conversation in a less direct way rather than asking them to sit down and bringing up the subject. For example, you could use whatever is around you to spark the conversation – bills, a new item of furniture you are still paying off, or something you’re watching on TV.
You should also be prepared to expect the unexpected. You may find out some surprising or shocking information, and you should try to remain calm despite this. Being judgemental will only make the other person want to stop talking, which is not what you want to achieve. Try to keep your cool even if the conversation gets tricky.
Remember that your conversation about money can be as big or small as you like. Don’t feel like you have to put insane amounts of pressure on yourself.
Your conversations also do not have to just focus on specific numbers, as that can often make people uncomfortable. You can talk about experiences and feelings. Number crunching can be important, but so is understanding your feelings. Talk about the emotions that go hand-in-hand with finances. Doing this can also make the conversation seem less daunting, as you will probably realise that you and the person you are talking with feel very similarly.
Try your best to actively listen to the person you are speaking with. No two experiences are exactly the same, so you need to really listen to them as an individual and avoid interruptions.
If you disagree about something, ask what their reasons are and try to be open-minded. If you feel they have a good point, tell them. If you disagree with them, suggest how you can move forward and discuss your common goals. If you need a break in the conversation, take one.