Money dictates so much of our lives: how we live, how we spend our free time, even what we eat and drink. But, despite its obvious dominance, we simply don’t talk about it. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, however. We all need to talk about money more with our friends, family and colleagues.
This is why Talk Money Week is so important. Run by the Money and Pensions Advice Service, it is taking place this week (7th-11th November) and encourages us all to be more open about our finances.
I speak about being open with money a lot on this blog, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get involved with Talk Money Week and encourage you to talk more about your finances.
A problem shared is a problem halved. While that’s not always the case, you’ll be amazed at the solutions and ideas others have that could help you manage your money better.
In this post I will cover:
- The realities of talking about money
- The problems not talking can cause
- The benefits of talking about money
- What is Talk Money Week
- About the Money and Pensions Advice Service
The realities of talking about money
Simply put, we don’t do it.
9 in 10 UK adults – that’s 47 million of us – don’t find it any easier to talk about money, or don’t even discuss it at all. That’s 47 million people who have isolated themselves from their loved ones in terms of finances. Money is stressful enough as it is, without having to keep it to yourself.
I’m not saying you have to talk to everyone you’ve ever met – the person in the corner shop probably doesn’t care! But, it’s worth speaking to your family, or partner, or perhaps some close friends.
You don’t have to disclose every last detail of your financial situation. But, perhaps talk about your goals more generally or any worries or concerns you may have.
The problems not talking can cause
Money is a huge cause of stress and arguments and is often a factor in relationship breakdowns. If people don’t talk about their financial goals and aims, they will inevitably end up on different pages.
Problems also seem worse when you don’t talk about them. If you’re struggling with debt or badly performing investments, you’ll likely feel better for simply talking about it. From there, you can create a plan to solve the problem.
It can also cost you money, literally. How will you know if a co-worker is being paid more than you if you don’t talk about salaries? How will you know about bargains or money making opportunities if you don’t talk about finances?
At the extreme, someone being incredibly secretive and closed about money could indicate financial abuse. If you are concerned about this either for yourself or someone else, please seek professional advice.
The benefits of talking about money
The benefits of talking more about money are clear to see.
Research shows that people who talk about money:
- Make better and less risky financial decisions.
- Have stronger personal relationships.
- Help their children form good money habits for life.
- Feel less stressed or anxious and more in control.
All people, but particularly women, are also more likely to start investing or pay into their pension if a close friend or family member recommends it.
Just by talking about these things, you could help the people you care about become more financially secure.
Talk Money Week and how you can get involved
Run by the Money and Pensions Advice Service, Talk Money Week is designed to increase people’s sense of financial wellbeing by encouraging them to open up about personal finance – from pocket money to pensions.
Held each November, it’s an opportunity for everyone with an interest in financial wellbeing to get involved with events and activities across the UK, designed to help people have more open conversations about money.
There are lots of different ways to get involved, from holding events in your workplace, running campaigns or offering taster sessions if you work in a relevant industry.
However, for most of us, the most important thing you can do is speak to your friends and family about money and encourage them to do the same.
If you’re ready to start talking…
Create a comfortable setting –
You might feel more at ease chatting over a cup of tea, as you go for a walk or at your kitchen table so you can lay out any paperwork. Try to minimise interruptions, so turn your phone off!
Prepare how you’re going to kick it off –
Sometimes the hardest part of having a conversation is knowing how to start. Once you’re past the first few seconds, you might be surprised by how easily the conversation flows. If you see a news bulletin relevant to your situation, use this as a springboard to initiate a conversation – it’s a useful way to break the ice.
Listen as well as talk –
Try to make sure you go into the discussion with an open mind, being prepared to take in the other person’s point of view.
Check in with friends and family –
Once you’ve made the first step to opening up about your financial worries, you can help others to do the same. But don’t force people to talk if they’re not comfortable. Instead, let them come to you in their own time.
About the Money and Pensions Advice Service (MaPS)
MaPS helps support the financial wellbeing of the UK by offering impartial, free financial guidance to consumers through The Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.
Since its founding, MaPS has worked with stakeholders across financial services, the third sector, government, health, education, retail and beyond to develop a UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing.
The UK Strategy is the ten-year framework which will help achieve the vision of everyone making the most of their money and pensions. MaPS plays a role in achieving this vision by working with other organisations, supporting products that make a difference and delivering services.
Don’t forget to follow me on social media @Katie20Percent to keep up to date with all my latest posts.
Did you know I offer freelance writing services and personal finance workshops and talks for schools, workplaces and organisations? I also regularly feature in the media. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on Twitter @Katie20Percent if you’d like to find out more.
If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. How comfortable are you talking about money with your friends and family? Do you think we all need to talk about money more?